Competitive but Unlucky Weekend in Germany for Campos Racing

by Paul Hensby

The Campos Racing team had one of their most competitive GP2 Series weekends of the season in Germany, but ultimately left Hockenheim with only two points to show for it. Arthur Pic and stand-in Alexander Rossi showed good speed throughout the weekend, but a number of factors resulted in the only points being scored by Rossi for seventh place in Sunday’s Sprint race.

After his best qualifying session of the season that saw him start the Saturday Feature race from sixth place on the grid, Pic was challenging for a good result in the race before his mandatory pit stop went wrong. The oil pressure dropped dramatically, and the engine stalled costing him a minute in the pits and dropping him down to nineteenth at the flag. Raffaele Marciello of Racing Engineering suffered the same issue, but was disappointing for both Pic and Marciello is that Mitch Evans of Russian Time utilised the same strategy to win the race, and was running behind them both before the stops.

On Sunday in the Sprint race, Pic was forced to start in the pit lane after missing on getting to the track before the red light on the pit exit went out, and then spun out on his out lap after being caught out by the Rapax of Simon Trummer coming to pass him around the outside.

“I’m obviously frustrated at missing out on a great opportunity this weekend,” admitted Pic. “I felt we could challenge for a podium finish on Saturday. We can take slight consolation from the fact Evans was on a similar strategy – yet much further behind us – before the pit window opened. When stopping in the box I should have maintained a higher level of revs, which would have prevented the engine from going into safety mode. After hearing about a similar problem for Marciello, Mitch was able to take the necessary steps during his own pit-stop. But that’s the way motor racing is sometimes.

“However, there’s also lots of good things to focus on from this weekend. Our race pace was really strong and I was glad to secure my season’s best result in qualifying, although it’s a shame we couldn’t exploit our potential. With the championship moving straight on to Budapest, I have an opportunity to bounce back and hopefully return to the sharp end.”

For one weekend only, Alexander Rossi joined Pic at Campos Racing, and for the first time in 2014, the team had two genuine front-running drivers. He was disappointed with qualifying only ninth after encountering traffic, and with his first race when he collided with Evans that broke his steering rack. But in the wet-dry Sprint race, he managed to hold it all together on dry tyres from the start to take home two points for seventh place.

“We started the weekend off pretty strong, being P4 in practice,” said Rossi. “I immediately felt comfortable in the car and with the team. I was not satisfied with 9th in qualifying. We had the pace for a top five position, but unfortunately traffic in sector three on my second tyre run limited this effort, and I had to abort my three flying laps. However, I knew the car was strong and starting 9th we still had a good opportunity for a podium.

“It was disappointing to be hit by Evans in turn six just after the safety car. It was another opportunity lost, ending my day with minor damage to the steering. I felt especially bad for everyone on the team who had worked so hard to give me this car.

“Starting from the back of the wet grid on Sunday, I made a good decision to start on slicks, plus the early safety car helped dry the circuit and buy us some time without losing valuable track position. Shortly after the safety car came in, the dry line became more usable and the times began to tumble, so it was definitely the correct strategy to run versus wet tyres. I was really pleased to finish in P7 and see some results for everyone on the team, and I’d like to extend my thanks to Adrian and the whole team for welcoming me.”

Japanese driver Kimiya Sato returns to the team in place of Rossi in Hungary this weekend having raced in the Auto GP World Series event in Austria last weekend.

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