GP3 SeriesInterviews

Patric Niederhauser: “It’s great to be back on the Top Step of the Podium”

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Patric Niederhauser is currently in his third season of the GP3 Series, and finally took his third series win in Hungary last time out after the twenty-two year old from Switzerland went through a very lean spell of results. The Arden International driver currently sits tenth in the championship.

Niederhauser admits the results at the beginning of the season were well under the teams and his own expectations, but feels they have turned a corner since Hockenheim where the pace from all three drivers has begun to be realised.

“It started pretty badly and went far under my and my teams expectations,” said Niederhauser to The Checkered Flag. “We were not fast enough and we’ve had some bad luck as well. We finally found some speed in Hockenheim but we were again unlucky in qualifying. We finally had a good weekend in Hungary, where I was able to win!”

He praised the team for working continuously to try and return to the winning ways they are used to. After winning the Drivers’ title in 2012 with Mitch Evans and 2013 with Daniil Kvyat, the team kept their motivation and worked hard on the cars to give the drivers, Niederhauser included, a better chance of getting back to the front, something the Swiss driver is happy about now the hard work seems to be paying off with results.

“The team was working very very hard,” insists Niederhauser. “I’ve also spent a lot of time at their workshop to give my inputs and get maximum prepared for the weekends. They have won the championship for the last two times and they are really motivated to do better. So, it was just hard work that pays off now.”

The hard work paid off splendidly at the Hungaroring, when the Swiss driver took his first victory since the opening race in Germany back in 2012 while driving for Jenzer Motorsport. He acknowledges that qualifying is still an issue but he is continuing to work on that to become a better driver.

“Hungary has been our best weekend so far and we definitely made big progress forwards,” said Niederhauser. “It’s great to be back on the top step of the podium. I still need to improve myself in qualifying to be there in the first race.”

Both races in Hungary saw all three Arden International drivers get off the line brilliantly, making up places. Starting from third on Sunday, he was into the lead by the first corner, passing the surprised pole sitter Dino Zamparelli into the first corner. He was happy to have made such good starts, especially around the Hungaroring where on-track overtaking is minimal.

“It’s great,” stated Niederhauser. “As overtaking is very difficult, especially in Hungary, it’s good to make up some positions straight away.”

After being off the top step of the podium for so long, the Swiss driver confirmed that he never stopped believing that he could return there. He admitted that the lack of positive results could have affected him mentally, but kept fighting, and was rewarded in Hungary.

“After the bad season last year and the bad first half of that year it’s not easy for your head,” admitted Niederhauser. “It’s pretty hard on your self-confidence too. I was wondering for how long this misery carries on… I knew the day would come so I was just always looking forward and kept fighting. It feels just great to know that I can still do it and it keeps me motivated to carry on like that!”

Niederhauser hopes the recent upturn in fortune for Arden International continues for the rest of the season so he will be able to secure more big-scoring results. He currently sits tenth in the championship, four points behind team-mate Jann Mardenborough in ninth, while third team member Robert Visoiu is twelfth. He hopes that all three of them can continue this strong form and advance some places in the championship.

“I definitely hope so,” insists Niederhauser. “I’m sure we are back now and I hope to do some more podiums. It would be good for me, and the team, to make up some positions in the championship as well.”

Looking within the team, Niederhauser is happy with how everyone works together, from the drivers down through to the mechanics. Even through the difficult opening to season, he confirmed that no one ever stopped working to get the team back to where they belong up front.

“The atmosphere is good,” said Niederhauser. “Even though we had bad results at the beginning, the team just worked flat-out to improve. And now, of course, everything is a bit less tense as we showed we could do it! It’s an absolute huge pleasure to work with those guys.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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