Atech CRS GP’s Tamas Pal Kiss secured tenth place in the second GP3 Series race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on Sunday after a stirring drive through the field from 17th on the grid. Despite a mysterious lack of straight line speed which continued to hamper the Hungarian in qualifying and race one, the team pushed very hard to get the matter resolved over the weekend and finally for the Sunday race he had the pace that allowed him to race competitively.
During Saturday morning’s qualifying held on a damp track, the Pal Kiss quickly settled in and was running eighth for half the session, until the track began to dry, eventually finishing 19th. The first race later that day was delayed by more than an hour following a heavy crash in the preceding GP2 race and, during the opening GP3 counter, another accident brought the race to an early finish after just four laps with Pal Kiss finishing 17th.
Belgian John Wartique made a welcome return to GP3 racing action on his home track but his first weekend back didn’t go entirely to plan after a heavy accident at Eau Rouge in Friday’s free practice prematurely ended his session. After a precautionary visit to the local hospital, and a superb job by the Atech CRS GP team to repair his heavily damaged car, the 22 year-old was able to take to the track for qualifying. However, with only four laps completed in the race, Wartique was unable to make much progress through the field, and netted 23rd at the flag.
Ethan Ringel’s debut race on the track situated high in the Ardennes region also proved eventful. A great start allowed him to move up several places into P16 as he looked set for his best race of the season. However, a desperate move by another car on the last corner of the first lap momentarily launched the American into the air and dropped him down the order, eventually finishing 24th.
Race two on Sunday morning was held on a dry track, and allowed Pal Kiss to show his true form, clawing his way through the pack to take tenth. Both Wartique and Ringel had a good clean run to the flag, the pair crossing the line 17th and 22nd respectively at the end of 12 laps.
Tamas Pal Kiss:
“It was a really good race on Sunday and I enjoyed every lap. I’m very happy that the team and myself finally managed to show our ability and potential today, because we really needed this after the disappointment of yesterday. The car really had the pace on the straights and I was able to fight with the others and just enjoy my time here on this great circuit. I want to say a big thank you to the whole team for their great efforts to make the car competitive again. I hope that my performance today was reward for their work. I also hope that the car will be as fast next week in Monza as it was in the second race and then we will have the chance to finish the season on a high.”
“Qualifying wasn't easy as I gradually got to grips with the track after such a big crash, so just getting into race one was special. But with just five laps I could only continue to take track experience. In the second race I didn’t get a very good start and was 25th on the first lap. I began to get more confident though and was able to overtake some cars, and on the final lap the time was good. Overall I’m happy, the objective was to finish both races and I continue to get experience every race. I was very happy to be back with the Atech team and I’d like to thank them for repairing my car so quickly after such a huge crash on Friday.”
“A dive in by another driver sent me on a short flight during the first lap of Saturday’s race, the damage was minimal but it dropped me down the order to 24th. As the race was shortened due to the stoppage, I had no chance of catching up. In Sunday’s race I was determined to avoid contact even though being less aggressive put me in a worse position. It was a good race and for all but one lap I trailed the fastest times by 1.5 seconds. Spa is a great track and the only disappointment was the perfect weather. I would have loved to have had one wet race.”