Pic wins in Monaco
25 May 2008 – Charles Pic could not have hoped for more! With pole position, the fastest race lap and victory in the race itself, Pic, who had never driven here prior to this week, was head and shoulders above the other drivers on show, mastering the unique challenges of the Monaco circuit as he beat Giedo Van der Garde and Fairuz Fauzy to top spot.
As feared, the rain came, and conditions were tricky as the 26 Formula Renault 3.5 Series cars lined up on the starting grid. With limited visibility and a wet surface, the Safety Car was brought out for the start.
When the race proper got underway, Charles Pic held his lead, trailed by Giedo Van der Garde, Fairuz Fauzy, Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing), and Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing). Baguette overtakes Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) admirably at the Sainte-Dévote hairpin. At the end of the first lap, Roberts Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) span off at Rascasse, holding up Aleix Alcaraz (RC Motorsport) in the process.
Charles Pic was dictating the pace and gradually stretching his lead over Giedo Van der Garde, who in turn was pulling away from Fairuz Fauzy and Julien Jousse. The drivers took a cautious approach in the early stages, only too aware that in these unforgiving conditions the slightest error would cost them dear.
As the half-way mark approached, Giedo Van der Garde stepped up the pace and gradually began to make up ground on Pic. Fairuz Fauzy still lay in third position, now some distance ahead of the chasing pack led by fourth-placed Julien Jousse, and behind him Bertrand Baguette, Mikhail Aleshin, Guillaume Moreau (KTR), James Walker (Fortec Motorsport), Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Maximo Cortes (Pons Racing).
Further down the field, while battling it out for seventeenth place, Pasquale DiSabatino (Red Devil Team Comtec) and Pablo Sanchez (Interwetten.com Racing) collided at the port chicane. DiSabatino was able to continue, but Sanchez had to pull into the pits.
With a little under half the race to go, Aleix Alcaraz hit the safety barriers at Bureau de Tabac, and the safety car was brought out to clear his car, which was blocking the track. Behind Charles Pic, things were getting tight. When the race resumed, Pic came under pressure from Giedo Van der Garde, but managed to hold on to his lead. Fauzy, Jousse, Baguette, Aleshin, Moreau, Walker, Molina and Cortes followed, the top 10 the same as it had been at the start.
Mario Romancini (Epsilon Euskadi) crashed off at Massenet. Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) managed to stop his car without running into the Brazilian. Pasquale DiSabatino (Red Devil Team Comtec), however, was unable to stop in time and hit Barba from behind, sending him into Romancini's vehicle. And so with six minutes to go, out came the safety car again to clear this pile-up.
And that was that - the race would not resume, and so, under the watchful eye of Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn, eighteen year-old Charles Pic claims his first race win in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with Giedo Van der Garde in second and Fairuz Fauzy third.
Charles Pic: I didn't have my sights set on victory. I just wanted to work well with the team, get the hang of the circuit and do the best I could. It's great to win here. I owe it all to Tech 1 Racing. Starting the race with the Safety Car out there quite suited me really. Right until the end I was just focusing on not making any mistakes, I wasn't thinking about winning.
Giedo Van der Garde: It's been a good weekend with important points at stake. I lost a bit of ground, then I came back. There was no point taking risks though. I need points and I got some so it's been a successful weekend.