MISFORTUNE FOR P1 MOTORSPORT
P1 Motorsport had an unfortunate time in the first race from Spa- Francorchamps, as they failed to add to their points tally in the World Series by Renault. Dutchman Giedo van der Garde crashed out of the race as he was passing Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) for second position, while Britain's Pippa Mann collected some debris at the first corner, which compromised her entire race.
Van der Garde made a fantastic start from seventh on the grid, and managed to inch his way through the first corner hairpin having made up a couple of places. Lying in fifth position, the 23 year-old passed Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) with ease and found himself starting lap two in 4th place. From there he continued to push, posting fastest lap of the race and looking strong for some good points. Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) was given a drive-through penalty, and was forced to relinquish the lead, moving Van der Garde up into third position. The safety car was deployed for an accident, and on the re-start with just nine laps to go, Van der Garde was closing in on second-placed man Jousse. The Dutchman got a good run on Jousse as they approached Blanchimont, and carving his way around the sweeping left-hander, Van der Garde eased the P1 car ahead and into second position. However as he was almost clear, Jousse seemed to drift into the left rear of Van der Garde's car, sending them both spinning off the circuit and into retirement.
Van der Garde rued the incident: "The race started quite well - everyone's tyres seemed to be wearing quickly and so I backed off to conserve them for later in the race. On the re-start after the safety car, I was much quicker than Jousse and tried to pass him around the outside. He drove into me, which absolutely cost me the race."
Meanwhile Mann, who had it all to do from 21st position, was back down the order hampered by poor handling and massive understeer, She fought throughout the race to keep the P1 Motorsport car on the circuit, and coupled with a mid-race pitstop to check for damage, she eventually crossed the finish line in 16th place. It was only when the car was back in the garage that the team could see the problem. Someone's front wing was lodged beneath Mann's World Series machine - which must have been collected at the first corner incident despite the fact that Mann had managed to avoid contact with anyone. The debris caused the front of Mann's car to be slightly raised which was the reason for the understeer.
Speaking about the race, Mann said: "I didn't know why I couldn't take Eau Rouge flat or what the problem was - all I knew was that the car was incredibly difficult to drive and I almost put it in the wall a couple of times. Knowing what I do now, I'm very pleased to have finished the race, and starting from 16th on the grid tomorrow is not a bad result considering."
-credit: p1 motorsport