Everything is new for Kevin in 2013

28.04.2013

As you probably know, Kevin switched from WSR to GP3 for this year. Omens are good as he also returned to the Koiranen team which took him to FR2.0 Eurocup title in 2010. Here's what he says himself.

Kevin as karting mechanic
Kevin during off-season as a
mechanic in his father's karting team.

What are your thoughts about the pre-season tests?

First test at Estoril was not that bad. Every time I went out I ended up in Top 6. During the second test at Barcelona we wanted to try different things and let’s say it was the toughest one. My places were something like 2nd, 10th, 14th and 4th. Which in itself were better than at the final test at Silverstone but I think the car was better during the final test days. Saying that I had issues with the engine, I was always the slowest through the speed-traps and my engine will be changed before the first racing weekend.

Did you experince any wet track driving during the tests?

Yes, we had three wet sessions and my positions were 1st, 2nd and 4th. Our car seems to be pretty good when it rains but a little bit more difficult on the dry track now. Last year it was exactly the opposite.

Your new team is based in Spain. Are you going to move there for the season?

First of all I have to graduate from the high school. When this will be done then I will surely spend time at the team. It is important to be together with the people and see how things are done.

And what about the studies?

Everything is fine. Actually there is only a couple of weeks left before the exams. I did chemistry exam two years ago already, now there are four more.

In some ways your situation is similar to that of 2010 when you won FR2.0 Eurocup. Koiranen is the new team in the series, there is a new car, everybody has the same starting level and your car is #28. How do you see that?

I asked the team myself if I can be #28, out other cars are #26 and #27. But apart from that it is tougher this time. Tests have shown we are not firmly in Top 3 yet. My team-mate Aaro Vainio was a title contender last year up until to the final round, so he is obviously a quick driver and our lap times have been pretty similar. Hopefully this inner-team competition can drive us forward. But the new car... You know, last year everybody had the same new car in WSR as well. You simply can’t compare it just like that.

Is driving for Koiranen like returning to home?

Basically yes. Some people have changed like it always happens but I know the majority of them. There are two Estonian mechanics among the 12-strong personnel so I can even speak Estonian. And Hagen Pischel is my engineer again as he was in 2010.

What are the main differences and similarities between GP3 and WSR cars?

Old WSR car was much faster than F3 but slower than the new one. GP3 is equal to the old WSR car I drove in 2011. Compared to the new WSR it has over 100 HP less power, there is no DRS and aero is not that advanced. But, as GP3 is lighter it should be faster through slower turns, but lose out under acceleration, in fast turns and on straights.

Tire management is also new for you, previously you have had no need to conserve rubber during the race.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened to me before. I guess early races will certainly be rather exciting. Obviously you are going to try and conserve the tires but if everybody around you is pushing you don’t want to let them go or overtake you. It is going to be exciting, especially during the final laps.

Which teams and drivers seem to be the strongest?

Last year ART and Arden were the best but Jenzer was the fastest at Barcelona tests and Manor have always been very strong. Driver-wise, Tio Ellinas have figured in Top 3 every time and topped the tables during the final test. Still it is not easy to judge as every test has had different driver at P1. But apart from Ellinas, Carlos Sainz has also been a consistent frontrunner.

Have you set any targets for 2013?

To be honest it is difficult to set something. Tests have been rather tough but at least we know our shortcomings and we are trying to improve in those areas. Maybe after the first race meeting we will know where we stand compared to the others. It is difficult to judge because we have been driving at temperatuses from zero to +5 but the ambient temperature during the first races at Barcelona will probably be in the region of +30. So everything will change.


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