Young racing driver Frank Bird got his 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship off to a satisfying start at Monza in Italy at the weekend.
The 19 year-old Arden Motorsport driver from Nassington claimed a superb top eight position in the opening race.
Fresh from a trio of successful sorties into the world of stage rallying, Bird gradually upped his pace throughout the four practice sessions held in the wet on Thursday to end up tenth fastest in the Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, Fuchs Silkolene and Frank Bird Poultry-backed car.
Eventually getting some drier conditions, Bird was inside the top eight in the Collective Tests on Friday to boost his confidence ahead of the opening qualifying session on Saturday where he ended up ninth out of the 22 starters and on the fifth row of the grid.
Despite a poor start, a calculated drive in the dry conditions saw him eventually cross the line in eighth place to score his first points of the season and in doing so, replicated his result of last year at the historic track in the province of Lombardy.
With the unsettled weather continuing into Sunday, hopes of improving were dashed when Bird crashed out of second qualifying which handicapped him with a lowly grid position for race two. The race itself was interrupted by a number of safety car interventions meaning Bird couldn’t progress through the field as he’d have liked so at the flag, had to settle for a disappointing 14th place.
Bird aid: “Overall it was a decent weekend. I showed some good pace and to get a top ten finish in race one was a good start to the season. Now it’s onto the next one at Silverstone next month.”