Rain washed Czech hopes Tomas Enge and the Czech team had troubled race day at Eastern Creek where rain played major part and negate a solid base from the qualifying. Enge finished 18th in the Sprint and 15th in the Feature race.
Rain washed Czech hopes
Tomas Enge and the Czech team had troubled race day at Eastern Creek where rain played major part and negate a solid base from the qualifying. Enge finished 18th in the Sprint and 15th in the Feature race. Australian weather prepared an unpleasant change for Sunday. The sprint race started on a dry track but dark clouds promised rain. Enge was 14th on the grid and was not that far from the top 10 after the start. However, light rain started on lap 7, initially only at few corners including the very quick first one.
The Czech car was very difficult to drive and when rain became heavier Enge decided to pit for wet tyres. The gamble did not paid off but there was nothing to lose at that time.
The feature race was the one where the team felt a good chance after 9th time in the qualifying. The position was further improved after Canada was sent back for not respecting blue flags and France and New Zealand started from the back due to technical problems, so Enge was effectively 6th on the grid.
There was a lot of water on the track although rain had eased off before the start but cars produced big spray behind anyway. Enge parked his car a bit to the left side of the grid in a hope to improve the vision in first metres. He lost few places immediately and this trend unfortunately continued in next laps while he was fighting poor traction. The stewards rubbed more salt into the wounds when ordered a drive through penalty for incorrect position on the grid.
The team used the first opportunity to do the first mandatory stop and changed tyres and the new set of wets worked better and Enge's times were immediately few seconds quicker. He was moving up from the back but the gap was too big and the last set of wets was not working that well. The Czechs are 16th in the championship standings.
Tomas Enge: "I am unhappy with both races. We had known about rain in the sprint and it came approximately in the middle of the race. Initially, it rained only in few corners but our car was difficult to drive especially at the quick corners. Rain got heavier but it was still close call between slicks and rain tyres but with big oversteering at the quick corners I decided to change tyres like did team GB and Indonesia. We needed few more laps to capitalise. We had a promising position on the feature grid but the race was a nightmare. I put the car a little bit out of the line to see something outside the spray. We got the penalty although it did not give us any advantage. It was not only problem though. The rear tyres of the first set were not working at all and I was loosing time out of the corners all the time because there was no traction. The second set was much better and suddenly my lap times were comparable with the rest. The last set was not that good again but we were too far back anyway... It is strange that the sets were so different although the pressure was the same. There was time difference four seconds per lap between the first and second set."
Antonin Charouz, Seat holder: "It is the same situation like after Taupo, the best thing is to forget out this weekend as soon as possible."