Chris Roberts/WiderViewPhoto.com press release
Gonzalez involved in a typical wet weekend at Spa Francorchamps
Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez returned to action last weekend in the latest races in the GP2 championship at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. The historic track 400m up in the Ardennes forest is a driver’s favorite but is also prone to mixed weather, which is what happened last weekend.
So after a very wet practice session on Friday morning started in dry conditions, with drivers on slick tyres, before the rain returned. Qualifying later that day was a completely wert affair with spray always an issue with drivers trying to find their braking points at this high speed track,
At the end of qualifying Gonzalez ended up in 19th place on the grid. After which he commented, "My qualifying session has been conditioned by the front tyres' wear. When I exited pits I felt I got a great grip with the car, and I thought that our set-up choices were proving really effective. At that point though, right after my flying lap, my front tyres got worn badly. When I put the second set on, the same thing happened and, with today's conditions, pushing for more than one lap was needed to improve our lap times progressively"
The first race took place after the Formula 1 qualifying, with the track still wet and Gonzalez made up a few early places in the difficult conditions. Having got up to 15th place the race was neutralised when the safety car was deployed to clear up after a heavy accident to another driver at Eau Rouge.
In the spray and behind the safety car with the slow speeds and cool temperatures cars started to go into safety mode, which meant they almost stopped. This sadly accounted for both Gonzalez (on the 19th lap) and more seriously for his teammate Colletti as they both hit the cars in front that slowed down suddenly.
As Gonzalez commented afterwards “The race was very difficult with the spray but I managed to overtake some other cars before the safety car came out. Unfortunately I then hit the back of another car due to safety-mode issues, which ended my race prematurely. Hopefully tomorrow I can have better luck”
The sprint race on Sunday was held under dry conditions with cars using the slip stream options that this track offers especially up through Eau Rouge & Radillion and up the Kemmel straight to Les Combes
Gonzalez did his best but with limited running only made a few places up at the flag.
At the end of the weekend Gonzalez summed up “I was hoping for a step forward this weekend on a circuit I know well from my British F3 days, but the weather played havoc with my plan for the weekend. My thoughts are with my teammate Stefano Colletti, who is recovering in Liege hospital with two broken vertebrae’s from his heavy crash. We now move onto the high speed Monza circuit in Italy for the final meeting of the season in 2 weeks time”