After dominating the season up to now, the DAMS team left the Moscow Raceway disappointed after a testing weekend that saw both Carlos Sainz Jr and Norman Nato well off the ultimate pace.
Championship leader Sainz endured his worst weekend of the season, qualifying a lowly sixteenth for race one and ninth for race two, when he has been challenging for the pole position for the rest of the season. He was penalised for causing a clash with title rival Oliver Rowland in race one in which he finished fourteenth, but managed to salvage eight points in race two with a good defensive drive to sixth.
“We knew that Moscow would be a tough challenge for us,” said Sainz. “And so it proved as we had set-up problems in qualifying. On Saturday the car was oversteering and the next day it was a bit understeery. This being said, we win as a team and we lose as a team. We managed to score points on Sunday and we’re still in the lead in both championships. But we’ve got to get back on the front foot at the Nürburgring.”
Team-mate Nato had an even more disappointing weekend than Sainz. The Monaco race winner started on the back row of the grid in race one, and could only improve to fifteenth place on the grid for race two. In the two races, he could only manage seventeenth and sixteenth place finishes, and the Frenchman was saddened by the lack of pace over the weekend.
“We were on the back foot nearly all weekend, and obviously I’ve come away feeling frustrated,” said Nato. “We were pretty much on the ball on Friday in free practice, but after that we couldn’t find the right set-up for Saturday or Sunday. It was very difficult starting from so far back each time, all the more so as overtaking isn’t easy on the Moscow Raceway. This hasn’t dented my optimism and we’re going to bounce back in Germany for sure!”
Managing Director Francois Sicard was disappointed with the overall team display of his team in Moscow, but laid no blame upon his drivers. He is determined for this to be just a blip, with the hope of returning to the front next time out at the Nurburgring.
“It’s obvious that we put on an under- par performance compared to our usual standards this weekend,” said Sicard. “We were unable to adapt to the changing weather conditions and we were always playing catch-up. We have to analyse all this. As a result the drivers didn’t have cars that met their requirements.
“Nonetheless, our direct rivals didn’t manage to take full advantage of this opportunity, and Carlos saved points in brilliant fashion. We’re also very sorry for Norman whose performance isn’t at fault. You can count on us to be back fighting at the front in the next race.”