Countermeasures worked well and we got Pole Position (Rd. 2 Marrakech, Morocco)
“The Marrakech circuit is the street track where the kerbs (20cm-high bumps) at the chicane surrounded by concrete barriers offer super-tough challenge to the drivers.
The air-intake problem caused by the induction box and the air cleaner was solved by introducing countermeasures, however, we had to do it cold for the qualifying runs because the Friday practice sessions were cancelled due to a sudden thunderstorm.
During the free practice session in Saturday morning, we mainly checked those measured areas, and felt a bit relieved to confirm that the air was taken correctly and the original acceleration duly revived.
In the qualifying session, Tarquini did a superb job. He marked the top time in Q1, maintaining the pace in Q2 as well, and secured the team’s first ever pole position. This really was a fine achievement that dispelled the gloom incurred in the previous round and encouraged the team ever again. Monteiro, on the contrary, had hard luck as he hit the concrete wall in Q1 and ended up to the 14th grid.
The team tackled all-night repair works for Monteiro’s car and got it ready for the race just in time. Now, came the Race 1 start, Tarquini got it right yet again and took the lead. He controlled the race till the middle point, but was overtaken by the car behind exploiting his slipstream at the back straight and dropped off to the 2nd place. Immediately after this, Monteiro’s crash induced the safety car period, letting Tarquini finish the race in stalemate 2nd. Unfortunately, we’ve let the maiden win slip through our fingers, but at least, the team could feel convinced that their genuine speed have been fully recovered.
In Race 2, Tarquini, in hot pursuit of the higher position, had to retire after hitting the kerb, spun and crushed hard onto the concrete wall.
The pole position and the consequent 2nd place gave the feeling that we’ve made a step forward, however, the double crash inevitably put severe trials in front of us”.