Fittje Finishes Top 5 in 2017 EFO and P2 Rookie
London, U.K. – Jannes Fittje has secured his rookie vice-champion title in the 2017 Euroformula Open (EFO) this weekend in Barcelona, winning enough points to hold his second spot in the rookie standings and fifth spot in the overall standings.
Fittje’s teammate and EFO champion Harrison Scott did not contest the final round of the season, which meant that Fittje’s benchmark through Thursday and Friday test days would not be present. Fittje and the RP Motorsport team struggled to find a good balance on Thursday, but the pace improved into Friday, as Fittje went quick on used tyres but struggled to find consistency in the balance of the car throughout the day.
On Saturday, Fittje made a huge effort to continue improving on his lap time and despite putting his flying lap altogether, he could not improve upon P7 on the grid for Race 1. The car was ultimately lacking mechanical grip through the medium speed corners, not permitting Fittje to attack the corners with the same speed as his rivals. Fittje commented he “didn’t feel grip on new tyres. I don’t know if it was a bad set up or a bad warm up. The car didn’t especially feel like it had big oversteer or understeer, but I couldn’t go through the corners with high speed. With the third and fourth gear corners like Turn 7, I definitely lost +0.5s.”
Fittje would make up for lost ground at the start of Race 1, going from P7 to P4 by the first corner in a single move that was not shy of danger. As Lorenzo Colombo stalled on the grid, Fittje dashed to the right hand side of the slow-moving Italian driver to avoid contact. The move simultaneously resulted in Joey Mawson having to swerve to the right hand side and onto the grass along the main straight in order to avoid contact.
From P4, Fittje focused on settling into his race, but due to heavy oversteer and understeer, the German’s tyres had worn dramatically in the first half of the race. With a bit of a wild car in his hands, Fittje drove a clean race distance without risk to safeguard his second position in the rookie standings. After the race, Mawson’s unpleasantries towards Fittje proved futile as the race stewards deemed no penalising action against any of the drivers for the events that took place at the start of the race.
Fittje found a much better balance and mechanical grip during Sunday’s qualifying session. Lining up P4 on the grid, Fittje said “I felt like I had the grip of all four tyres again and I was +0.15s off pole. It was a step forward from Q1 and pole was possible, but I didn’t have the confidence to push beyond the two flying laps I had to set a time before the peak of the tyres had ended.”
Starting strongly again for Race 2, Fittje moved up into P3 alongside Nikita Troitksiy on the outside of Turn 1. A hot-headed Mawson drove into T1 with too much speed and cut the apex through T2. Fortunately, Fittje stayed wide on the exit of T2, which saved him from otherwise inevitable damage from the Australian driver. The move resulted in Fittje losing momentum and rejoined in P6. The German had good pace during the remainder of the race, but no afterburner to make up the five places he had lost. Keeping composure in the final heat of the season, Fittje understood that he was still in position to hold his P2 position in the rookie standings and drove the car home to achieve his goal of finishing in the Top 3 amongst this year’s rookie drivers. Troitskiy – Fittje’s closest match all year – was crowned the rookie champion.
Fittje commented on his weekend:
“Barcelona was hard for me as I really had to adapt my driving style session by session. My biggest strength all season has been my race starts and I showed that again this weekend. I am really glad to meet my objective of the season and I gave it 110% this weekend to finish well.”
Fittje’s manager Henry James commented:
“Jannes has performed to an excellent standard throughout the year. He has definitely learnt a lot and his rate of development has continued to flourish, having to overcome different challenges on and off the track. He’s ready to jump into a more powerful car where he can further demonstrate his skills and progress his racing career.
“Everyone at DCM has been happy to support Jannes on his 2017 season and our attention has very much been focused on his 2018 programme for quite some time. We are dealing with a lot of interest regarding Jannes’ future and look forward to providing announcements in due course.”