Confidence high after Magyar success.
Following a month-long summer break, the GP2 Series resumes with round eight of its 2014 season at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend (August 22-24). After securing his maiden championship victory at the Hungaroring in late July, Arthur Pic is still riding high on a wave of confidence.
But before getting back down to business once again, the Frenchman has had an opportunity to take stock while enjoying a well-earned break.
With three GP2 rounds in July I was in need of a rest, so after Hungary I went to Corsica and spent two weeks with my family,
“With three GP2 rounds in July I was in need of a rest, so after Hungary I went to Corsica and spent two weeks with my family,” says the Campos Racing team leader. “There, we were able to celebrate my win together.
“The victory tasted very sweet for everyone at the team, too. It was a great reward for the potential we’ve shown since the season began and has given us a lot of confidence entering the final third of the year.”
This winning mindset should prove useful when the time comes to tackle the classic 4.352-mile Ardennes circuit next weekend. But while Arthur does enjoy the challenge of racing there, it’s not for the same reasons that most drivers give when asked to name their favourite corners. Indeed, rather than picking iconic names like Eau Rouge, Raidillon or Blanchimont, it’s actually the second sector that excites the 22-year-old most.
“I really like the section that runs downhill from Les Combes all the way to Stavelot,” reveals Pic. “The track winds its way through many medium to high speed corners, like the double left-hander at Pouhon. The whole flow of the sector makes it a very rewarding experience. Of course, Raidillon remains amazing but, to be honest, you get used to it after a couple of laps.”
Finding the right tempo is key to being fast over such a long circuit. One might also expect that the periods spent at full-throttle help a driver solve Spa’s riddle. But, according to Arthur, the opposite can actually be true.
“Let’s take the long straight that goes all the way to Les Combes,” he explains. “There you are, flat-out for almost 15 seconds with few adjustments required on the steering wheel. Admittedly, it’s an opportunity to breathe, but it can also affect your focus. Perhaps you start overthinking or considering something else.”
Travel to Valencia
In order to step up his preparations, Arthur will travel to Campos Racing’s factory in Valencia, Spain, this weekend for the first time since winning in Hungary. “I’m sure we’ll go out and have a drink to celebrate!” he smiles.
There, Pic will spend some time inside the racing simulator re-familiarising himself with the demands and challenges posed by the Belgian Grand Prix venue, a place where he has enjoyed much success in other junior categories.
For instance in 2008, the year he won the Formul'Academy Euro Series, Arthur twice started from pole and won as many times. Two seasons later, and now racing in the highly competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, he very nearly repeated the feat. Indeed, Pic was only denied another Spa Grand Slam when he was involved in an incident at the start of race two.
“I do cherish fond memories of both weekends,” recalls Arthur. “To be honest, I have always felt good at Spa. I do hope we can be competitive there once again and carry the momentum from Hungary through until the end of the season.”