Another difficult weekend for Kevin

01.07.2012

Continuing technical problems and zero points from Nürburgring

World Series by Renault continued at Nürburgring this weekend after first of two summer brakes. Unfortunately it brought little to cheer about to Kevin. Technical woes which plagued him during previous round at Spa returned and spoiled another meeting.

It went awkward from the very beginning of Friday’s first free practice. Kevin exited the pits only to discover his car had no fourth gear. It meant he had to sit out the whole session while mechanics were repairing the 'box. In the second free practice Kevin managed to do 15 laps but his time was only 22nd among 26 drivers. Rain during the session meant he went to Saturday qualification with zero dry-track laps.

Qualification brought P15 but the gap to team-mate and poleman Jules Bianchi was abnormally huge – more than 1.5 seconds. Saturday race saw minimum overtaking and brought little consolation to Kevin. He dropped one place at the start but inherited two later thanks to other drivers retiring. Rank 14 was not great but even more worrying was the slow pace. Something had to be wrong with the car. Team “dug” in the car until very late on Saturday night and found a faulty differential.

Car felt much better during Sunday qualification but this time it was engine which hampered Kevin’s progress. Another miserable session brought P14 which turned to 13th on the grid after Antonio Felix da Costa’s fastest lap was disallowed due to infringement.

As it is common at Nürburgring weather started to turn just before the race. Light drizzle changed to full-scale rain during lap 1. With all cars on slick tires incidents were inevitable and Safety Car was deployed. Kevin finished opening lap on P11 and while some drivers pitted for wets, majority (Kevin among them) stayed out. As it emerged later, it was the right decision but unfortunately had little meaning for him.

Racing resumed on lap 6 after SC and in the thick of the battle Kevin was almost immediately hit from behind. The contact shred his right-rear tire and Kevin spun into gravel, retiring on the spot.

Kevin: “There is not much to talk about the weekend. On Friday I realized something was wrong with the car but couldn’t say what exactly. Saturday qualification made me think it was simply lack of dry-track running. But laptimes from the race showed that was not the case. In the worst case I have been 0.3-0.4 seconds behind my team-mate, now the gap was almost two seconds! Finally the team found differential was the one to blame.

Car felt totally different on Sunday but now we had engine problems and I lost time on straights. Hopefully engine will be rebuilt before the next round in Moscow.

Race itself was really messy. All the hell broke loose when safety car left. I almost braked to standstill in the middle of Turn 1 but still hit somebody. Then a couple of corners later Arthur Pic was overtaken by Alexander Rossi and lost his car. He hit my right-rear tire with his front wing and that was it.

Hopefully I can resume normal driving from now on. All those technical problems have really become annoying.”

Next WSR meeting will be held on July 14-15 on the brand-new Moscow Raceway. It is first time a major international motor racing series has its rounds in Russia.

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