It was a weekend of highs and lows for Atech CRS GP at the season finale to the GP3 Series at the historic Monza circuit this weekend. Encouraged by a return of pace for Tamas Pal Kiss in qualifying, his sixth place was tainted by the organiser’s decision to dock the Hungarian ten grid places for causing an ‘avoidable’ accident during Friday’s free practice.
Despite that, Pal Kiss went in to Saturday’s opening race happy with his car and confident of moving through the field, with eighth and pole spot for race two as his target. A super start and a strong drive over the course of the race, together with the fourth fastest race lap, allowed him to make up several places, but he just missed out on the prime slot for Sunday’s final round, crossing the line in ninth.
In the second race, another solid drive by the GP3 race winner saw him up into a points scoring position, once again with great race pace and the fifth fastest lap, only to have a penalty added to his time for ‘ignoring yellow flags’, dropping him to 15th.
Both John Wartique and Ethan Ringel also had eventful final rounds to their 2012 season. The opening race saw Wartique stall on the grid, leaving the Belgian frustrated and unable to make much headway into the field, finishing in 17th place.
While a lonely race for Ringel prevented much in the way of progress, with the long fast straights of the Italian track favouring those in traffic from which to gain a tow and significantly increase lap times and overtaking possibilities, the American finishing just adrift of his team-mate at the flag.
The second race saw Ringel eliminated on the opening lap after a collision with another car damaged his wing, pitching him off the track, while Wartique immediately behind had to take avoiding action, going straight on at the chicane and eventually finishing in 18th place.
Tamas Pal Kiss: “After qualifying I felt comfortable with the car, it worked perfectly this weekend, and I was confident that I would have the chance to fight my way back into the top eight and finish this season on a high but it wasn’t to be. The car was good, I love Monza and it is a circuit on which overtaking is possible, but it was disappointing to get the penalty in race two.
I don't know why I was penalised again, I believe it is because of 'ignoring yellow flags', but it is very strange, as I never overtook under yellow flags and I had no chance to go faster than the others in any case as I was in the middle of a train, it was a disappointing end to the season.”
John Wartique: “In the first race I couldn’t get off the line, which was really annoying, but I was glad to get to the finish in one piece. In the second I had to cut the chicane at the start to avoid the first lap crash which dropped me back down the order, eventually finishing 18th. It was a difficult weekend, but that’s racing and all part of learning.”
Ethan Ringel: “Overall I’m pretty happy with my final weekend on my season, and was .5.1 second off of Tamas’ time and around three seconds off the fastest lap times in the opening race, which is more or less where I wanted to be at the end of the season.
The data showed I lost .4 second in each straight because I was alone for the majority of the race, which at Monza can make a significant difference to your lap times.
In race two it was impossible to avoid the initial contact and although I continued and caught the draft into the next turn, the lack of downforce from my damaged wing made it impossible to stop sending me into the gravel.
So not much to learn from Sunday, but that is racing. I'll be back next year and with a full season of racing under my belt, will be more confident going into the opening round.”
Source: Atech CRS GP