Team Marc VDS Estrella Galicia 0,0 took three podiums, including two wins, on their debut in the Renault Sport Trophy. Fabian Schiller and Markus Palttala shared victory in the endurance race, while Schiller comfortably won his solo race. Palttala rounded off a strong weekend with third position in his sprint event.
In qualifying, Schiller was able to take pole position for his contest in the ‘Am’ category, three tenths of a second ahead of the competition. Palttala, whose ‘Pro’ session set the grid both for the endurance event and the ‘Pro’ category solo race, set fifth best time.
Palttala took the start of Saturday’s 70-minute enduro, the first for Marc VDS in the Renault Sport Trophy. His experience was vital, handling some hectic action at the front of the event without undue drama. He saved the car’s tryes and still gained positions, handing Schiller a perfect platform to attack. The German raced to the front in short order, and was managing the gap when he received news of a 15-second time penalty due to an error at the pitstop. He then proceeded to attack, opening out enough of a gap to secure the victory despite the time added to the car’s result, with 5.535 seconds to spare.
Sunday saw a 25-minute sprint race for each driver. Schiller’s ‘Am’ category race saw the youngster able to drive away from the field and dominate, his pace superior enough to the competition to ensure he was never troubled.
Palttala, starting fifth in the ‘Pro’ race, was able to make two places at the start with clever track positioning, but was unable to find a way past the Strakka Racing entry in second place and had to settle for the final step on the podium.
The next race sees the pair take on the Imola circuit in Italy, from 13-15 May.
Markus Palttala, Renault R.S.01 #9
“Winning on our debut in a new discipline is pretty awesome for everyone involved. I know Fabian is very strong in his group, so when I was stuck in the leading pack, I focused on preserving the tires for him to finish it off. He was awesome in the end and managed to build a gap big enough to negate the time penalty we got for a small mistake in the pits. Following that result with a podium in my solo race makes this a near-perfect start, I’m really pleased. The competition is tough, so we can’t rest on our laurels; we need to keep on working on details to stay on top.”
Fabian Schiller, Renault R.S.01 #9
“Winning the endurance race was a really, really good start to my time with Marc VDS. Markus did a great job to make some positions without destroying the tyres, so the car was in great shape when I took it over. I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult, but then I was told I had a 15-second penalty… I had to push to open the gap. By the end, the rear tyres were really close to the edge! The sprint race was all about management; I was able to make a gap at the start, and control it throughout. The car was perfect; I have to thank the guys for that. This was a fantastic debut in Renault Sport Trophy for the team, for myself and for Markus.”
Marc van der Straten, Team Owner
“I’m an extremely happy, satisfied man. The way this partnership has begun, with Monlau, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Elf and Marc VDS is nearly perfect. The results are extraordinary, especially as it’s the first races in a new series, with a new car! I’m proud of Markus, and in Fabian I think we’ve got a real star. I’m really excited for the rest of the season.”