Pole, sweet pole Guillaume Moreau had an incredible week-end in Hungary. On a circuit which was new to him, he set the fastest lap time in free practice, took pole position in his fourth attempt in the category, and despite producing a faultless...
Pole, sweet pole
Guillaume Moreau had an incredible week-end in Hungary. On a circuit which was new to him, he set the fastest lap time in free practice, took pole position in his fourth attempt in the category, and despite producing a faultless drive, lost the race that seemed impossible to lose.
"I immediately felt at home and found the right lines, the right braking and steering points. This helped us a lot to early find a pretty good set- up and to build a technical gap to the rest of the field. On Friday, I was already three tenth faster than anybody else. But the hardest part of the job was still to be done: secure pole position for real! There were drivers in my way on my first set of tyres, but with the second one, I ran really slowly to get a clear lap, and it worked." On the 14th of July, Bastille Day and French National holiday, the FFSA National Team member set pole position at the Hungaroring, almost half a second faster than the second Group B driver, and more than two tenth faster than Alvaro Barba, who got the other front row spot as a result of topping the Group A sheet. "This is my first pole in a World Series car, and I'm really happy because it's a strong championship. I have been through difficult times after my Le Mans crash. For the first time, I don't feel anymore cervical pains."
The pole dream came true, but Saturday's race turned to a complete nightmare for the KTR driver. "I did a good start, and so did Filipe Albuquerque who moved alongside me. I was holding the inside line but he forced me to brake quite late to keep the lead at the first corner. Then I began to pull away." The gap to the Portuguese was already three seconds when the safety-car came out at the end of lap 2. "Our strategy was to stop early in case of another safety-car procedure. But much to my surprise, the team called me in the pits just when the safety-car entered the pit lane and when the green flag was about to be waved. I came on the radio twice to ask and they confirmed, so I followed the safety-car, at very low speed, into the pitlane. For sure I lost a lot in the process." Guillaume rejoined the race in sixth, and put pressure on fellow compatriot Julien Jousse. "I passed him on the outside of turn 11. Overtaking there isn't easy because of dirty air in the fast turn 10. Julien moved to the inside, so I dived the other side." Guillaume pushed harder to close to Sebastian Vettel, who replaced Robert Kubica in the USA Grand Prix one month ago and finished 8th in his F1 debut. The safety-car was deployed for the second time, and when racing resumed with just two laps to go, Guillaume repeated the Jousse round-the-outside manoeuvre to outbrake Vettel. "I risked it all to exit from turn 10 as close to his rear wing as possible despite the massive loss of downforce, and I nearly lost the car. Like Julien did, he defended the inside line, but I braked even later than in qualifying, according to the data, and found a way past round the outside."
Thanks to this brave and spectacular move, Guillaume took fourth place in the provisional classification, but entering the pitlane behind the safety- car is forbidden, and at the team, no one knew it! The race stewards showed no mercy and Guillaume was given a 20-second penalty, so he dropped back to 17th, meaning he would start from this uncomfortable position for race two. "Finishing fourth was very disappointing; we already lost the race and punished ourselves with our poor strategy. I think the penalty is severe, if you consider the race direction also made a big mistake: the safety-car lights were not switched off in Turn 11 like they were supposed to, but only on the approach to the very last corner. They confessed it, but didn't change their mind concerning my penalty. The team also confessed they made a mistake, but I must admit they were also responsible for this morning's pole position! The car was just perfect."
Guillaume started from pole and drove a faultless race: 17th place is what he got. On Sunday, he started from 17th on a circuit notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities, and had to cope with technical problems: he managed to recover 9th! At the start, he went to the inside of Turn 1, then stayed on the outside line for the next left-hander and moved up to 11th place! Two drivers in trouble permitted him up to 9th and Guillaume quickly closed to race one's winner Albuquerque. He lunged past at the end of the straight but ran wide, allowing his rival back ahead. "I was faster, but I was struggling with downshift." The Frenchman eventually came home four tenth of a second behind the Red Bull driver and scored two points for the championship.
"We lost 15 points yesterday and I should be 6th in the standings." The series will reach half-distance in Spa-Francorchamps, where the 8th and 9th rounds will take place on August 18th and 19th. It will be another busy week-end for Guillaume on his World Series team's home ground. He will also drive the works Courage in the 1000 kilometre Le Mans Series race.