Arthur Pic’s strong start to this season’s GP2 Series suffered a frustrating hiccup at round four in Spielberg, Austria, last weekend (June 20-22) when a pit-stop problem during the opening race consigned the Frenchman to 10th and 13th place finishes after recording his best qualifying result of 2014.
Pic and Campos Racing enjoyed a promising start to proceedings by recording the seventh fastest time in qualifying, as Arthur – who views the Red Bull Ring as one of his favourite circuits after competing there in Formula Renault 3.5 – unlocked the Spanish squad’s potential during Friday’s extremely tight 30-minute session.
He would also make a good start to Saturday’s Feature Race and was with the leaders when the pit window opened on lap six. But just one lap later his strategy of running in clean air was severely compromised when a sticking wheel nut cost Pic five seconds while making his mandatory tyre change, allowing a tightly bunched group of drivers to pass.
Stuck behind slower cars, Pic was unable to pass as his choice of gearbox ratios prevented him from staying close behind on Austria’s numerous straights. Undeterred, he was nevertheless able to make headway and finally rewarded with a point after seizing 10th thanks to a bold move on Caterham F1 Team protégé Rio Haryanto at Turn 3.
Pic made another strong getaway from the same spot during Sunday’s Sprint Race, gaining two positions on lap one before losing momentum when running wide at the final turn. With six places gone in just two corners, the 22-year-old was then trapped in the mid-field and ultimately resigned to finishing 13th after his efforts to battle back through the pack came to nought.
Arthur Pic: “We always knew some weekends were going to be tougher than others and that certainly proved the case in Austria, although we’ll work hard to ensure it’s a one-off. I had a problem with the left-front tyre during my pit-stop on Saturday, which pretty much dictated the outcome of both races. Had it been trouble-free I would have re-joined in clean air and could have finished fifth or sixth, such was the competitiveness of our car.
“On Sunday I made a solid start from 10th, but a slight mistake at Turn 8 cost me six positions within two corners. From then on, my race was pretty much decided.
“However, I’d prefer to focus on the positives. The car felt very good over one lap this weekend and I’m also happy with how I’ve improved at the start, as I’ve been struggling slightly in that area. It’s now up to us to put everything together over a race weekend in order to be back challenging for podium finishes.”
Arthur will look to combine his competitive qualifying pace with trouble-free races in round five of the 2014 GP2 Series, which takes place at Silverstone on July 4-6.
For more information on Arthur Pic please visit www.arthurpic.com