- May 30, 2010
ACE driver Pashalis Gergis once more grabbed his microphone to take an interview from some drivers around the paddock. Once again, we got up close to 5 different drivers and two principals, representing one team though!
Petar Brljak (Croatia) - Twister Racing @Petar Brljak
Starting with Petar Brljak, the Twister Racing driver has managed to get 3 podiums in the first 3 races, but hasn't yet got his 2nd win in FSR Thrustmaster World Championship! Let's see what his thoughts were after the 3rd Round.
3rd podium in a row for you Petar! How does it feel to be so close to the 1st spot of the podium but not having been able to get your first win in World Championship this year?
- To be honest I could have won all three of them with the race pace I had, things just didn't come together in the race or qualifying. It's not really bothering me as I drove well in all three of them, I just need a bit of luck, for example the two contacts in Malaysia and then in China on the first lap compromised my races, none of which were really my fault.
Tell us about your race, surely the 2nd place was unexpected after your teammate Patel had a blown engine on the last lap but did you feel you could do better in this track? You weren’t very far from a win again but surely you weren’t as close as you were in Malaysia. What are your thoughts?
- I was already sorted for 3rd and at the beginning of the last lap I thought of saying to Muhammed, 'You're gonna lead the championship now, nice' and 20s later I see smoke in s2 and him on the side of the track.What a bummer. For my race, it was just a mediocre lap in qualifying and then the contact with my teammate on lap one that ended my chances, as then I was driving in dirty air for almost 40 laps straight and the gap was too big once I cleared the 3 cars in front. Generally I was struggling with understeer in the race. It was slightly frustrating, but without that first lap contact I think I'd be fighting for the win on track.
How hard has it been for you and your teammates in Twister to battle each other every race? Would you like to avoid that kind of situations or do you enjoy racing with your teammates, even though that could cost you a win or create an incident?
- It is a little bit scary sometimes to fight with teammates, especially now that we are capable of making a podium sweep without Precision and Morgan in almost much every race. We try to keep it as clean as possible.
Are you a fan of this track? Many drivers around the paddock seem to be frustrated with the brake balance on some corners, especially T9 , while others seem to enjoy driving here. What should we expect from you on this race?
- It's one of my least favourite tracks, just the flow of it is quite boring and some areas are frustrating for setting up the car. If I'm on the front row of the grid I should be able to fight for the win, itdepends on my qualifying where I tend to think too much about braking points and usually ruin my laps. Unfortunately for me, I haven't really mastered that confidence in one attempt on rFactor 2 yet.
Marco Conti (Italy) - BBR Life4Racing @Marco Conti
Next up is the Italian driver Marco Conti, having raced partially in the World Championship, his experience surely helped him to secure the podium in China after a disappointing start in the first two races!
Hey Marco, after a disappointing and unlucky start of the season with 2 DNFs ,how did it feel for you to get the 3rd podium spot after a solid qualifying? Did you feel you could go for more or that position was the best you could do?
- Im very happy about this result after two bad races in a row, I could probably have done a bit better considering my Quali pace but a podium is still a great result. Let's see if I can do better the next times.
How have preparations been for Bahrain? Do you look for another podium there? Give us an insight what you and your teammate, Enrico di Loreto want to achieve in this race.
- Bahrain is not for sure my favourite track, and usually I’m a bit demotivated to do practice there, so I don't have great expectation.
You are an experienced driver and you have taken part in some WC races in the past, but as a regular ACE driver since last year, let us know how different is it for an ACE driver to adjust his practice and his workload for the WC races when he has a permanent seat there? Did you find it more challenging and more demanding comparing to the lower division you were participating?
- Ace and WC are very similar when the pure performance is concerned, the only difference is that in ACE you just need to be prepared enough to be in top 3 but very well prepared if you want to take a win or a pole, in WC is the same but performance wise we are very close each other in the top 10.
Francesco Bigazzi (Italy) - Eventa Simracing @Francesco Bigazzi
An FSR debutant, Francesco Bigazzi managed to get his first top-10 result, luck wasn't in favor of him in the early goings of our season but it looks like he can turn it around after a solid 4th place!
Since it’s your first season in FSR, how did you get the seat in Eventa Simracing? How did it all start for you Fransesco?
- I was contacted by Dian around February, and he offered me the seat for this year. I was already planning to race this year, so it was an easy decision. The guys in the team are all nice, the atmosphere is very good. An FSR debutant, Francesco Bigazzi managed to get his first top-10 result, luck wasn't in favor of him in the early goings of our season but it looks like he can turn it around after a solid 4th place!
The first 2 races weren’t much of a success for you but you retaliated with a very solid 4th place in China, after having also a couple of battles on track. What changed here, was it a result you’ve been waiting for?
- I think the results from the first two races didn't show the real picture, we just had a lot of bad luck. In Australia we were competitive, and i was fighting for a podium until the incident with De Wit, while in Malaysia it was difficult to recover from the back especially considering the car we had. In China we had just a cleaner race. The results was good, and it's obviously a push for the future.
What are your impressions in FSR so far? Is there anything that makes it different here regarding the competition and the level of the driver lineup? Have you changed anything to your driving style and practice manners?
- The most difficult thing is probably the fact that there a lot of drivers very very close and if you do even a small mistake you end up losing lots of positions and then it's difficult to recover. You always have to be perfect in every single area to have a good result. Regarding the driving style, i think the key is to drive around the tyres, to make them work as much as possible in their best operating window.
Before wishing you good luck for your race on Sunday, I’d like to ask what are your expectations for this race, do you feel you can repeat the result you got in China, and if so, what should you focus on a track like Sakhir?
- I don't still know if it will be possible, but it's definitely our target, to be able to fight with the top guys every race as soon as possible. We hope to be a little bit closer this weekend, we worked as much as we could to have a good car over bumps, a good traction and more confidence under braking, but only Sunday we will know more about it.
Muhammed Patel (England) - Twister 2FAST4YOU @Muhammed Patel
Muhammed Patel after having a very solid start in Australia and Malaysia, it looked like he could step it up in China and get his 1st ever win in World Championship, but his race ended in a dramatic fashion during the last lap of the race, let's find out what happened!
How was your race? Can you take us on how you felt when you see your engine blew? Did you investigate with the team what happened?
- China was perfect. It started with qualifying in 2nd and then the perfect launch gave me clear track since T1. Daniel, my race engineer helped me find relatively clean air on the exit of my pitstops. I made sure I would be the first to pit, to ensure no undercuts, and after the first stint it was just about managing the gap to Jim. I was more gutted than angry about the engine failure, especially as I drove an error free race, and didn’t even expect to win. On reflection, I guess the smoking for half of lap one caught up to me at the end of the race.
You are a debutant this season in WC as you were racing in Ace until the last season, tell us about the transition between the divisions and what were the biggest challenges you had to face this year in World Championship. Did you expect to be in podium discussion right away?
- The changes in the race are not huge, especially as a couple of top drivers have left over the winter, also last year there was World Championship level talent at the top of ACE, with Toman and Conti, so to win a race last year, you pretty much had to have a perfect race as well. That being said, it’s a lot tighter in qualifying, so a small mistake is ever more costly, and the style of Q2 in WC, having to wait for your turn and then having all eyes on you adds a bit of extra pressure. Also, timing your pit-stops is crucial to prevent getting stuck in traffic and losing valuable couple of seconds, therefore you can’t get away with the small errors through the weekend. I expected to be around the top five, but to be in contention so early for a race win is a bit surprising.
You had a great start in the season, with a P3 in Australia, and a P4 in Malaysia. What’s the secret for that solid pace in the first 3 races of the season? Has your team been helpful? Any special wheel settings?
- There is no real secret to it. It’s just preparation before a race to make sure you are comfortable with the car, and to have an idea of a strategy before the race. Being part of Twister-Racing obviously helps, the whole team helps in one way or another, and we have our specialist Petar who is awesome with setups. We made a huge step forward last year, even with Dominguez as team boss, but probably we only saw the results in WC after Greco took over. Thrustmaster’s T500RS is a big benefit, especially after I set the wheel up, it’s helped me manage the tires, which are very sensitive in rF2.
What is the target for the Bahrain Grand Prix after the dramatic finale in the China and what will be the key for you and your teammate Petar to succeed in the upcoming races? Do you think you can get the constructors championship home or even one of you get the World Champion trophy home?
- For us to keep getting the podium results, we just have to work in the same way we have at the start of the season. The target, not just for Bahrain but for the rest of the season is to try to finish on the podium every race. It would be great to have a couple of 2FAST4YOU one-two finishes along the way, which should help us achieve the constructors’ title for Twister. Right now, Jim and Petar have a gap up front at the top of the drivers’ standings, so as a team it would be great to secure both championships.
Thanks for your time Muhammed and we wish you no more blown engines from now on!
Jonny Simon (Australia) - Ghostspeed Racing @Jonny Simon
Last but not least, we decided to grab a more lengthy interview from our commentator Jonny Simon, his pace has looked good enough for decent results this year, however luck and other variables have kept him out of points for the first 3 races.
P11 for you Jonny and another unlucky race for you, take us on what happened with Patrick on T15.
- For the entire first lap he was ultra-aggressive, locking up and almost taking me out from behind at Turn 1. Turn 9 didn’t help either, good attempt by him so nothing wrong there but it just exposes his aggression over the whole first lap, I had to give him space so we didn’t make contact and we both lost time. Finally on the long straight I was passing Carlos Martín up the inside but Carlos missed his braking point and crashed into cars ahead. I decided to approach the hairpin with caution and be careful to avoid any big pileups. All of a sudden from my view in the cockpit with my FOV, Patrick only appeared while I was at the apex of the corner and any person with racing logic will understand that if I start to turn in more, I would understeer. I asked for clarification as to why I received the penalty and it was ridiculous, the stewards have penalised me for being safe and not penalised a driver who approached an accident scene with full aggression. Nothing personal against Patrick, I respect the guy but he has a history of this and sometimes you need to know when to be aggressive and when to be safe.
It looks like the incidents and some unlucky moments have taken the best out of you without you and your teammate, Jernej Simoncic having not scored any point until now! Even though both of you look you deserve to be in the points what has been going so wrong in the first races?
- Incidents. If we avoid getting caught up in incidents then we will score points. We work so hard as a team and everybody at GhostSpeed is a contributing factor towards our success. People don’t see the amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes here at the team, they just look at results and unfortunately to start the season they have been poor. For sure of course every team is working hard but we now need to start proving that with results. About China, I am so disappointed for the team, the car felt good enough to win the race I even just missed out on fastest lap with a damaged car. However it was totally my fault, my mistakes in Q1 and Q2 cost me and I’ve worked hard to analyse why I made those mistakes so they won’t happen again such as switching DRS on too early haha. But head up, motivation is high and now it’s on to the next one…
Is it time for you to get your first points in Bahrain? Do you feel confident for a good result there?
- If I stay out of incidents I will score points for sure. The car was great in Melbourne and China, the whole team struggled in Malaysia with the setup and that visually showed as it’s been our worst race so far. Currently everything is looking good for Bahrain but no need to get cocky, I’m just going to give 100% as always and try to achieve a good result for the team.
Lastly, since you are a commentator for the Pro Series races I couldn’t help but ask you to give us an insight on the Bahrain track, how challenging is the track layout and how hard did you find yet to setup your car?
- The deserts of Bahrain will prove a challenge for all drivers and that’s what makes it fun. The drivers skilled under braking will gain those extra few tenths at this circuit compared to those who aren’t as talented with braking into corners. Turn 8 as well as Turns 9/10 are an ominous lockup haven and flat-spotting the tyres here will detriment your race strategy quite significantly. Setup isn’t difficult this round and is fairly straightforward, usual procedures as always to develop it.
Team Principals - Ryan Winsper/Peter Bell (England) - Origin Front Row @Ryan Winsper @Peter Bell
We have a double presence of the Origin Front Row principals, Peter Bell and Ryan Winsper, the team owners will answer a few questions for us regarding their team!
We start off with Peter Bell first!
Since it’s your first season in the FSR and the World Championship Take us on how you guys merged 2 teams and brought Origin Front Row in the highest division?
- Origin Front Row was formed by the merger of Origin Sim Racing who last year raced in Pro and Front Row Racing, the name of the racing league I run and the name that is also on the licence, Ryan approached me about the idea near the end of last season to do this, he felt that he was ready to tackle the WC but was held back by the money aspect of it and from our standpoint it was a no-brainer because not only would we get someone who has experience in running a team, but also the drivers that he has in that team, one of them who is Kuba who has endless potential at his disposal. From my personal standpoint I have been a fan of FSR for a long time and watched the great drivers and teams, I have been a motorsport fan since the age of 6, this is an opportunity to be involved in something you have a passion for, and even though I isn't exactly F1 for real, being involved in a team and working with other people to achieve success in the next best thing is a real thrill.
Did you feel Brzezinski and Brewer were ready for the big step in the World Championship after the impressive runs they had in Pro in 2014? Brzezinski actually came in the league and dominated the field! How much of a gamble was to put a new driver immediately in the running with so many top-class drivers?
- Kuba we feel is ready for the WC he's proven that already over the first 3 races, he's someone who is committed to excellence, and every day he wants to be better and better at what he does. I'm going to personally not try to say too much about Kuba and how good he can be because it would add more on his shoulders than we would like. Dan Brewer to me and Ryan is like having another manager in our team, he has been a massive help to the OFR project so far. Not only does he bring FSR experience to the team but also the knowledge of having worked with other teams, not like secret information of other teams but observations of how not to do certain things, the right way to do things. Even though Dan has only had 1 race so far this season we have seen a progression in his driving to where we feel he too is ready for the WC and we think he proved that in China with 6th place.
Thanks for your time Peter, now let’s move on to Ryan Winsper!
After missing the first 2 races of the year, Daniel Brewer, the 2nd driver of the team debuted in World Championship, with a solid 6th position, what are the expectations for him this season?
- China for Dan was a very strong showing of what he is capable of, he has the ability to mix it up with the front runners and is very much a team player. I think a couple of people have mentioned about the potential inter-team war between Kuba and Dan which can cause several harmony issues within the team and the journalists love to chew on that type of thing but the relationship that Kuba and Dan have is a very strong one. They are 2 very good friends and its our aim to keep it that way.
What is the target for your WC team this year? Have your expectations been exceeded by the strong results of your drivers? Do you feel there’s more in the tank?
- We headed into this season knowing for us this was going to be a year of learning. Whether the results are good or bad were using this season as a stepping stone to creating our legacy within FSR. I think it would be fair to say especially with teams that have been around a lot longer than us that we have so far exceeded expectations in the WC. Is the absence of Precision Motorsports and Morgan Morand a factor to that? Most definitely, on paper the field this year is not as strong as previous years. That being said there's still a lot of very talented drivers in the World Championship and it certainly still an exciting challenge to be a part of.
Give us an insight of the rest of your teams in the Ace and the Pro divisions, how have the results been for the smaller teams? Do you see any potential promotions in the future for some of your drivers?
- Our ace and pro teams are part of FSR for the same reasons any other teams have them, to develop future drivers and to give them that FSR experience. We have had a fair bit of bad luck so far in ace and pro while at the same time some flashes of brilliance. I'm a believer in the ability of the guys in ace and pro and even though things haven't been as good as they could have been its still early days yet. I hope one day some of the talent we work with in the lower divisions whether with us or if they move on to another team that any can be successful.
We hope you enjoyed this article, until the next one! We will all see you in Sakhir, Bahrain
*Thanks to all the FSR Media Group (Alessio Campus, David O'Reilly) for their assistance once again.
Round 3 Broadcast
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