F-MASTER: Quadra Sports Valencia summary

ADVENTUROUS FORMULA MASTER DEBUT FOR PIERRE RAGUES Frenchman Pierre Ragues has climbed a steep learning curve on his Formula Master Championship debut last weekend at Valencia in Spain. The all-new Formula Master Championship -- which got ...

ADVENTUROUS FORMULA MASTER DEBUT FOR PIERRE RAGUES

Frenchman Pierre Ragues has climbed a steep learning curve on his Formula Master Championship debut last weekend at Valencia in Spain.

The all-new Formula Master Championship -- which got underway for the first double-header race meeting over the weekend -- is backed by Eurosport and follows 8 meetings of the World Touring Car series this year. It uses identical Honda-powered single-seaters with performances comparable to those of a GP2 car.

Pre-season testing clearly demonstrated Pierre's potential, but he faced a tough time during his first weekend of racing -- most of which was down to pure bad luck. He set promising times during the free practice sessions on the technical Spanish circuit, but encountered some typical racing problems during the all-important qualifying session on Friday.

The session was interrupted after it has got underway, and Pierre then struggled to find a clean lap where he could use his new tyres to good effect and string a consistent series of fast sector times. The end result was to put him 15th on the grid for race one.

Despite his lowly starting position, Pierre was determined to make up places and he quickly moved up the field. During one overtaking manoeuvre, he clashed with another competitor in a racing accident. Unfortunately, the race stewards took a different view and handed Pierre a drive-through penalty. This meant that he was 19th when the chequered flag fell.

The grid for race two was formed by the result of race one (apart from the top eight finishers, who are reversed). This meant that Pierre faced a tough task before the race had even started. When the lights turned to green, he made a fantastic start and worked his way up the order to eventually finish at a promising ninth.

The 23 year-old Frenchman commented: "It was far from an easy weekend, but the most important thing at the start of a new championship is to get as much time in the car as possible and learn as much as possible. We certainly did this, and acquired plenty of experience of dealing with traffic and overtaking: both are fundamental parts of racing. I'm very happy that we've got a good pace: now my goal is to translate that into some solid results at our next race meeting for what will be my home race. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my team for the good and solid job and for giving me a good car."

Pierre will be in action again at the next round of the Formula Master series in Pau, France from June 2-3.

-credit: qs

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