Pic left frustrated as pace goes unrewarded at Paul Ricard
Arthur Pic endured a frustrating home Formula Renault 3.5 event at Paul Ricard last weekend (29/30 September) as the youngster’s highly competitive qualifying pace ultimately went unrewarded.
Friday practice saw Pic kick-off the weekend impressively with P2 in the opening session, but with conditions remaining dry throughout, the arrival of rain on Saturday made qualifying a tricky learning curve. Pic dealt with this impressively however, taking eighth on the grid and lapping on the pace of his front-running rivals.
Unfortunately he would be unable to demonstrate this speed in the race. With the circuit still wet the opening tour became a lottery and Pic suffered a collision with Sam Bird that would end his chances on lap one.
Determined to make amends, Pic produced an excellent lap in Sunday’s second qualifying session to seal sixth on the grid. Circulating just a few tenths shy of a spot on the front row, the DAMS driver was left feeling even more was possible as a red flag late in the session prevented him from improving his time.
Sunday afternoon’s race saw rain once again fall on the Le Castellet venue and, on a wet track, Pic struggled for traction off the line. Slipping down the order as the cars headed into turn one, he soon ducked into the pits for his mandatory stop, hoping to climb back through the pack on an alternate strategy. Though successful at first, the extended stint saw Pic’s tyres wear out late in the race to leave him 14th at the chequered flag.
Arthur Pic: “Saturday’s qualifying was very tricky but I managed P8. It was a bit of a journey into the unknown as we didn’t get any running in the wet before the session. Still, we were amongst the quick guys, so that was positive. I got a good start in the race but then made contact with Sam Bird at turn three. We had a bit of a misunderstanding, but it’s always a lottery in those conditions.
“On Sunday we qualified in the dry so I was a bit more confident. The car was good and I managed to secure P6 but, like several others, my session was compromised by the red flag at the end. The race was wet and I had a bad start. I tried an early pit-stop, but my tyres were too worn during the latter stages to allow me to fight for position.
“On a dry weekend we could have scored a lot of points but in these conditions myself and the car are not yet where we would like to be so we will keep working on this. Now we can focus on Barcelona, a track that everyone knows very well. I hope that the weather there will be on our side and we can finish the season on a high.”
The Frenchman will be hoping for better luck during next month’s season-closing event at Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya (October 20/21) where he will look to secure a place in the ultra competitive championship’s top-five. Following a campaign that has seen Pic claim his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 pole position and race victory, a strong final round would be the perfect swansong to 2012.
For more information on Arthur Pic, please visit www.arthurpic.com