New team, new colors, new hope

18.09.2012

Kevin scored first points with his new team but there was speed for much more

Kevin@Hungaroring

As you probably know Kevin swapped teams before WSR round at Hungaroring. The new team is called – unsurprisingly, considering his background – Lotus. Actually Kevin took a seat which initially belonged to his flat-mate Richie Stanaway. Then Richie got hurt at Spa and now Kevin drives the gorgeous black-and-golden-painted car with number “11”.

But what about the reasons of such a switch? It is never easy to change the team mid-season. Cars are obviously all the same in World Series by Renault but teams are the ones who make the difference. Gwenaël Lagrue, the Gravity Sport Management driver program manager explained: “Given the first part of Kevin Korjus’s season we reckoned it was necessary to evaluate him in different conditions and in a different environment. First of all, he must regain his self-confidence and that’s part of the reason why we think that changing teams is good for him.”

From the outside beginnings were not that much different. P8 and P16 in practice sessions were followed by what seemed as a total disaster – P18 in Saturday qualification. But unlike previous rounds no technical glitches hit Kevin and the speed just waited to be unleashed.

Hungaroring is not known for its overtaking opportunities. Still Kevin managed to work himself up to 12th in race 1 and was rapidly catching Lucas Foresti when chequered flag ended his challenge. There was certainly an optimistic note as Kevin’s laptime was 7th fastest despite having only a few free laps towards the finish.

There was progress on Sunday when P8 from qualification turned into P7 in the race but sector and lap times show it could have been even better. Kevin also played a part in perhaps the most spectacular moment of the race locking wheels with Robin Frijns. There were clouds of smoke but both cars remained in one piece and even on the tarmac.

Kevin Korjus: “Team switch happened very quickly. I learned about it on Tuesday, the same evening I flew to Prague and the next day we already headed to Hungaroring.

Attitude in the new team is completely different. Lotus is very much an international team – it’s headquarters are in Czech Republic, personnel is coming from many different countries and everybody is speaking English. Car is also set up in a little bit different way so I had to amend my driving style slightly. During practice sessions on Friday we tried several set-ups but didn’t find a perfect one for Saturday qualification. Overtaking then took so much time during the race that when I finally had free track for final 2-3 laps it was impossible to grab any points.

For Sunday qualification we made some changes and the car was much better. I posted fastest time on sector 1 but then somebody spun in front of me, yellow flags came out and fast lap was destroyed. At the second attempt my tires had cooled down and I locked the wheels under braking into turn 1. Third time I put it more or less together but gaps were small and better grid spot could have been very useful during the race.

Then I had that clash with Robin Frijns directly after my pit-stop. It perhaps looked much worse on TV that it actually was. Collision itself was not that hard but at first I feared something was broken on the car and lifted for a moment. Then I realized it was only a bent steering. Car was understeering or oversteering according to the direction of the turn but I used to it pretty quickly.”

With his newly-found optimism Kevin is now looking forward to the next WSR rounds which will take place at former French GP venue at Paul Ricard on September 29-30.

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