Earns a point while representing America
It wasn’t the Winter Olympics, but Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. represented America while competing in Russia last weekend too. And while gold medals weren’t given out in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup doubleheader at Moscow Raceway, Tveter (in photo from a previous event) saw a marked improvement in his qualifying efforts and he earned his first Eurocup point in the ultra-competitive, international series designed to produce future Formula 1 drivers.
Driving the Game Ready Injury Treatment System #16 fielded by Josef Kaufmann Racing and also sponsored by Switzerland’s Autobau conference center and racing museum, Tveter took an immediate liking to the $150 million road course that opened in 2012. Although he'd never seen the course before, the rookie posted the third-fastest time in the first practice session, just .034 of a second off the fastest time set that session.
The field is divided into two groups for qualifying, and Tveter recorded the fifth-fastest time in his group on Saturday morning, just three-tenths of a second off the fastest time turned in the 15-minute session. His lap in 1:32.331 gave him the ninth starting spot in the 28-car field for the first race that afternoon on the 3.931-kilometer (2.44-mile), 14-turn road course.
Unfortunately a bolt on his car's front wing broke early in the race, hampering the car's aerodynamics. The race went non-stop and he took the checkered flag in 12th place. For a bit it looked like he might have 11th when the driver who crossed the finish line in third place, Anthoine Hubert, incurred a 10-second penalty, but Hubert still ended up in front of Tveter instead of behind him.
"A bolt snapped off in the left flap of my front wing, but there was nothing I or the team could do about it. It was just a mechanical failure," Tveter said matter of factly afterwards. “I had a good start, but I got boxed in a bit in the third corner on the first lap. Nyck De Vries was very slow for some reason; maybe he had a puncture, but he created a bit of a jam in the corner and I got stuck on the inside. I made a little mistake later that cost me some time too. I struggled a little with the car in high-speed corners but my pace was still pretty good considering the damage to the wing."
Tveter started 12th in the second half of the doubleheader Sunday afternoon. He lost two spots on the start but regained one of them working lap two. He vaulted two more positions to 11th working lap four when Martin Rump and George Russell made contact right in front of him. He ran his fastest lap of the race on lap seven with a 1:33.403, and he was still solidly in 11th when he took the checkered flag 11 laps later in another non-stop affair.
"One of my teammates, Kevin Jörg, won that race, and I want to congratulate him on a job well done," Tveter said.
Four drivers incurred 10-second penalties for jumping the start but they were all behind Tveter at the finish. Although he finished 11th he earned the point that is awarded to the tenth-place finisher since one driver who isn't registered for the championship finished ahead of him on the track.
"I scored my first point in Eurocup, so that was good," Tveter said. "To score any points in this series is an achievement.
"To me the biggest accomplishment this weekend was the improvement in qualifying," Tveter said. "I was really happy with that, because it's a very tight field. Three-tenths of a second is a very small margin, and that separated the top-six positions.
“It was my first time going to Russia and I really enjoyed every part of my trip," he added. "The track was fantastic as well. It's very well constructed and everything was incredibly professional. The marshals and stewards were impressively on top of things. There aren't many places to overtake, but it's a very technical track and I really enjoyed driving there. The facilities are also great. It was so nice that such a big crowd turned out for the weekend. There were 78,000 people there on Sunday! It was incredible. The fans were very happy to be there, and it was a great atmosphere."