August 29, 2016 in 2016 GP2 Series
- Frenchman struggles for pace after qualifying sixth at Spa
Arthur Pic’s hopes of adding to his points tally in the 2016 GP2 Series drivers’ standings were dealt a blow in Belgium when a down-on-power engine cost him dearly on the long straights of the super-fast Spa-Franchorchamps circuit (August 26-28).
The Rapax driver, from Montélimar in France, was hoping to go one better than the second place he scored in last year’s GP2 feature race at the daunting Belgian circuit, but instead found himself powerless to attack as he lost up to 0.4s per lap to his rivals.
Pic will receive a new 4-litre V8 unit from Mecachrome for Monza next weekend – where power is even more important!
Having worked through his normal practice programme, Arthur and his team were encouraged by his car’s improved set-up for qualifying, allowing him to take sixth position on the grid for the feature race.
But having started on Pirelli’s soft tyre, Pic found himself struggling with his car’s race balance and that, combined with his engine issues, meant he was unable to defend his position. After taking his mandatory pit stop early to change to the hard Pirelli tyre, as he tried to undercut those ahead of him, Pic eventually finished 14th.
Starting deep in the midfield for Sunday’s Sprint race meant Arthur was a hostage to fortune and so it was that he was hit from behind going into La Source hairpin on lap one and picked up a right-rear puncture. After pitting he dropped a lap down and finished 22nd.
The next round of the GP2 Series takes place at Monza next weekend (2-4 September), in support of the Italian Grand Prix.
Arthur Pic said: “Practice was normal and we improved the car. Overall I was happy with qualifying – the only bad issue was the engine where again, we lost a bit more than 0.4s a lap. I will have a fresh engine for Monza, and if it was not for that, I think I could have qualified third– which is where my team-mate was.
“In Race One, I started on soft tyres, but our pace was not good enough. Part of the reason for that was due to the engine – for sure it does not help you here to lose so much time lap after lap. Moreover, our set-up was less efficient in race trim. I think the team’s strategy to start on the soft tyre was OK, but all things considered it was difficult to do more than what we did.
“In the Sprint race I was 17th at the first corner when I was hit and received a puncture. I had to drive slowly back to the pits and after that I lost a lap and the race was over.”