TOUGH LUCK FOR RAGUES AT A DIFFICULT PORTO RACE Frenchman Pierre Ragues has come away empty-handed from the Formula Master race at Porto, which descended into farce after a series of red flags, delayed sessions and some confusion over the...
TOUGH LUCK FOR RAGUES AT A DIFFICULT PORTO RACE
Frenchman Pierre Ragues has come away empty-handed from the Formula Master race at Porto, which descended into farce after a series of red flags, delayed sessions and some confusion over the circuit layout.
Round four of the series took place at a new street circuit in Porto, Portugal, but there was a considerable degree of confusion as to the placing of a chicane before the finish line, which caused plenty of controversy over the weekend.
The first free practice session set the tone for what would be a hot and dry but incident-packed weekend. After a session shortened by red flags, Pierre was 14th: having only managed to get four laps on the brand-new track. The second session, featuring more red flags, was little better -- with Pierre 17th after the grand total of just 10 laps.
The qualifying session got underway an hour late, and after such a disrupted start to the weekend, Pierre could manage no better than 13th on the grid.
The Euronova driver got a good start, but was held back by a gear selection problem that forced him into the pits on lap two. The mechanics did a fantastic job to fix the problem, and Pierre would have been in a position to re-join on lap three had the race not been halted by yet another red flag. It then resumed under a safety car for the final two laps, when obviously leaving from the pitlane was not allowed anymore.
Race two unfortunately saw a repeat of the earlier gear selection problems for Pierre. Having taken to the pits, he lost seven laps while the Euronova mechanics supplied a huge effort to fix it. He was eventually able to rejoin and used the rest of the race as an extended test session. The team is now confident that the problem will not occur again.
The 23 year-old Frenchman commented: "The whole weekend was really a bit of a joke, so I am glad it is over with -- although the circuit has the potential to be very nice. It was unlucky that we had the problem with the gearshift but I am confident this will not happen again. Now we need to put these two unfortunate races behind us, and look forward to the future. At least we have more experience now!"
Pierre will be in action again at the next round of the Formula Master series in Anderstorp, Sweden, from July 28-29. Pierre plans a two-day test beforehand.