Round 6 of the GP3 Series took place at the Hungaroring in Budapest, but with only three rounds remaining, it was a frustrating weekend for Marussia Manor Racing.
Another new circuit means that all three drivers were acclimatising to this technically challenging track, which demands full concentration for 100% of the lap. Fabiano Machado was enduring a further challenge - the back injury he carries over from his incident at the Hockenheimring last weekend. The Qualifying session was to be his first and last taste of the Hungarian circuit, as he took the decision to withdraw from the rest of the competition in order to avoid further aggravating the problem.
All hopes rested on the shoulders of Tio Ellinas and Dmitry Suranovich, but their race preparation didn’t get off to the best of starts in qualifying. Tio was running in the top three on the first set of tyres and was looking good for the second set, but he failed to improve and dropped down the order to a disappointing 15th place. Dmitry had a torrid qualifying session which concluded with 21st position.
In yesterday’s Race One, Tio got a great start to jump from 15th to 10th in the opening laps but knocked his front wing on another car which cut across in front of him. The damaged wing slowed his pace dropping him back to 13th by the end of the race. Dmitry retired on the first lap after another car hit him in the second corner.
The circuit was still soaked from the overnight storms as the cars lined up on the grid for this morning’s Race Two, so the teams and drivers were faced with the dilemma of starting the 16 lap race on wet or slick tyres.
Tio started the race from the pit lane after the car failed to start on the grid and opted for slicks. Dmitry started the race on wet tyres.
Dmitry battled through to 5th from 21st on the grid, but as the track started to dry out the cars switching to slicks came through strongly, eventually dropping him down to 16th by the flag. With some skilful driving Tio survived the wet track and set a string of fastest laps as his tyres came up to temperature, battling his way to a points-scoring position in 5th.
“A disappointing weekend for me. I couldn’t find a set-up I was happy with in Qualifying, so we were playing catch-up for the rest of the weekend. I am happy to get through to 5th after starting Race 2 in the pit lane; races in mixed conditions are always fun! We will re-group over the summer break and come back stronger.”
“I enjoyed Race 2 in drying conditions. In the end we tried to run the Wets a little too far and couldn’t quite make them last. A positive weekend so I look forward to the legendary Spa in five weeks’ time.”
(Withdrew from the meeting for medical reasons)
Pete Sliwinski, Team Principal
“A frustrating weekend at a track we have always gone well around. It is unfortunate that Fabiano withdrew, but he will now have time to make a full recovery before Spa. Both drivers did a great job in Race 2 and we are happy that Tio’s charging drive in difficult conditions rewarded him with points. We look forward to Spa in 5 weeks’ time.”
Source: Marussia Manor Racing