Sunday in Was Qualifying 2 and Race 2 of Round 4 of the Euroformula Open Championship at the Hungaroring. Unlike Saturday, the track was completely dry with fine weather expected across the day.
Qualifying went ok, in that I managed to take over 1.2 seconds off my best time on new tyres there over the weekend with a 1:36.9. However, the times were very fast, and very close with a 1:36 covering the field right up to P3 on the grid. My time put me on P11 again.
In the race I made a good start off the line and with some determination held my position around the outside of turn 1 to stay in 11th place. From there it was an intense battle needing to try and attach Brazilian Samaria in front, and also ensure that American Yves Baltas was kept behind me.
The Hungaroring is a very difficult circuit to pass on, they call it “Monaco without the walls”, as with the 14 turns and very short straight you always seem to be in a corner. This means you don’t get much help being behind someone in the slipstream and in fact you lose downforce around the corners with the car in front directing the air over the front wing – which makes it hard to stay close. The other thing is that because many of the corners go left then right, even if you do get in the inside for one corner, you are immediately on the outside for the next. As a result an overtaking move often involves a 3 or 4 corner side by side battle which was certainly the case Saturday when I was able to move through to 6th.
About a third of the way through the race, Baltas did get a run on me down the straight and took me on the inside of turn 1. I had to get the position straight back so I immediately switched back on to the inside of him and then held my car in position around the outside of the challenging turn 2. I then had he run to the inside of turn 3, held him out a bit, and then had my position back under control.
I then set about catching the Brazilian ahead of me which I did and created opportunities to pass him throughout the race. At one stage we had a multiple corner battle where I nearly pulled off he move, but on the end he had the inside and I couldn’t quite make it stick.
I raced solidly then without error until with 1 lap to go I started to have what we later realised was fuel pump issues with the car. As a result it was missing every now and then, so I then had to defend off Baltas for the remainder of the lap which I was able to do to finish 11th.
This has been a very good week for me coming to what is generally regarded as the most difficult circuit in Europe to learn and managing to get up to speed very quickly. It has also been one where particularly in respect to racing that I have been able to put many of the new things I have developed into practice and am feeling very confident to be able to force my way to the front at this level.
Thank you so much to Mick, Tom and all of the team at Fortec, and thank you as always to all of my sponsors Lazersafe, High Energy Service, TWD, Rosehill Waters, ES2, Edith Cowan University, Kingsway Community Bank Branch, Grand Toyota, Fullworks Firesafety, Rvend, Inspired Insurance Services, Online Logistics Solutions, Walker Wayland, Focused Recruitment, Signarama Joondalup, F45 Hillarys and Trizone Fitness. Thank you to the incredible team of people investing in my racing, and a big thanks to all that have taken the time to support me online over the week.
Now it’s back to Perth for a few weeks for a few events we have planned which I am really looking forward to whilst the Euroformula Open Championship has its mid season break. A very special thanks to my sponsor The Wealth Designers (TWD) who are bringing me back for these events.