Top-10 finishes for Daruvala

Monza (Italy), April 13 (IANS) Sahara Force India Academy driver Jehan Daruvala had an encouraging single-seater debut at the historic circuit here finishing eighth and fourth in Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) double-header.

The 16-year-old, who will compete a full season as part of his 2015 programme, was only one of four drivers making their formula car debut amongst a highly competitive and experienced grid of 30 drivers.

Having qualified 10th for the first race on Sunday, Daruvala started well and moved up two places to finish eighth with Japanese driver Ukyo Sasahara winning the race.

In the second race, which he started from fifth position, Daruvala made a relatively slow start and was then squeezed wide entering the chicane. Taking a careful approach to the first lap, Daruvala lost out and fell to eighth before settling in seventh with rival Alex Gill on his tail. The duo fought hard and exchanged places over the next couple of laps before Daruvala managed to shake Gill off.

Daruvala quickly closed the gap with the cars ahead to join four other drivers in the battle for third place. He moved to sixth after two drivers in front knocked each other out and then passed two more cars to gain fourth place which he held to the finish line with Swiss driver Louis Deletraz winning the race.

“It was my first race weekend in a single-seater. I qualified and finished in the top 10 in both races. I struggled a bit with the car on Friday but the team did a great job. I want to thank the Fortec team and Sahara Force India,” said the Mumbai-based Daruvala.

The result wrapped up a very promising weekend for Daruvala whose 2014 highlights included finishing third in the World Karting Championship.

The remaining six rounds of the championship will give Daruvala the opportunity to race on another five Formula 1 circuits with the iconic Silverstone circuit being next on May 23.