The race weekend in Monza got underway with two days of testing for the drivers to acclimatise to the circuit. Both Trulli and Benavides were on strong form and went into qualifying on Saturday morning fired up for the weekend ahead.
The 30-minute qualifying session saw every driver desperately seeking out a tow around the temple of speed. Trulli was able to capitalise well and qualified third overall while Benavides was sixth having been the pacesetter for a large chunk of the session.
The opening race of the weekend was an unlucky one for Trulli who, despite lining up in third on the grid, finished 13thhaving had to come into the pits after sustaining a puncture and damage on the opening lap of the race. Benavides meanwhile managed to work his way up to third and was running well throughout a safety car period before bad luck in the closing stages saw him drop out of podium contention to seventh.
The second race of the weekend on Sunday morning started under the safety car due to terrible conditions around the Italian circuit. Thankfully racing action was able to get underway a few laps later, but with visibility at a premium, racing was challenging. As the flag fell Benavides crossed the line in seventh and Trulli 13th.
The final race of the weekend was set based on the fastest lap times set throughout the previous two races – this meant that Trulli lined up from the very front of the grid for only his second ever wet race. Conditions remained just as bad however the grid started the race as planned. Trulli went into the first corner deep and had to use the runoff road, for which he was later handed a three-second penalty. However, he wasn’t the only one, as Cem Bolubasi was also handed one for a similar offense just a few short corners later. Two safety car periods followed before the race was eventually red flagged a couple of laps from the end as the rain continued to fall.
Trulli had held on brilliantly in the extreme wet to take third place, and his first podium, while Benavides came home seventh.
Trulli said of the weekend, “So overall it’s been a good weekend. We were really strong throughout the weekend and improving session by session. But at times in the races luck wasn’t on our side. But we never gave up, we always worked to improve and in Monza we achieved our first podium and I think that we deserved it.”