Motorsport News - Misc
Pal Kiss denied GP3 podium on home track for Atech CRS
30th July 2012
Atech CRS GPs Tamas Pal Kiss sealed a dream home result with a podium finish in the second GP3 Series race in Budapest on Sunday, only to have it taken away at the finish after he was deemed to have crossed the white line exiting the pit lane. After taking third with a dramatic drive through the field from 14th, the 21 year-old had 20 seconds added to his race time, dropping him down to tenth.
In wet/dry conditions, his team-mates GP3 rookies, American Ethan Ringel and Argentine Facu Regalia both drove a steady race to get to the flag unscathed, moving up from their grid positions to finish 17th and 18th.
In the variable track conditions, where once again the threat of rain loomed large over the Hungarian circuit, much of the field ventured out onto the wet track with grooved, wet-weather tyres. The host venue for the sixth round battle naturally rates high amongst 21 year-old Pal Kisss favourite tracks and a scintillating start provided the opportunity to shine, placing him fourth at the completion of lap one.
Behind, an equally impressive getaway by Ringel allowed him to jump to 14th from 22nd on lap one, steadily moving the through the field to 12th on the wet track, revelling in the tricky conditions. On his GP3 debut for the Atech outfit, Regalia also made great gains on the opening lap, moving up from 18th to 11th.
For the first half of the race, it was clear that the wet-weather tyres were the preferred option. However on a drying track on lap eight, with Pal Kiss now up into fourth place, Ringel P12 and Regalia P13, it was evident that slick tyres were necessary.
Diving into the pits to switch, Pal Kiss then rejoined in eighth place and over the remaining laps was some ten seconds faster than his treaded tyre-shod rivals ahead. With a stellar run he caught and passed seven cars to move into second place, but on the very last lap, dropped to third, to take his second podium of the season in front of a very enthusiastic local crowd. However at the conclusion of the race, stewards later penalised Pal Kiss who they deemed had crossed the white line which separates the pit lane exit and the track, leaving the local ace ruing the error which occurred through a dirty visor and the glaring sun preventing him from correctly judging the white line.
Ringel drove an impressive and mature race throughout, consistently improving over the course of the 16 laps after a disappointing qualifying. Once again the 18 year-old impressed with his performance, consistently heading the times when the track was wet and setting the fastest time in sector one. Despite being one of many caught out in the difficult conditions with a spin, Ringel netted 17th at the flag, just ahead of Regalia.
Saturdays race by comparison, was fairly uneventful for the Leicestershire-based team. With both Pal Kiss and Regalia complaining of a down-on-power engine, which proved largely to blame for their frustrating grid positions, the trio had high hopes of a strong finish to improve their grid slots for race two.
In bright sunshine and hot and humid conditions, all three managed to gain places from their grid positions, Pal Kiss getting up to 12th before being passed, dropping to 14th at the flag. Regalia crossed the line 18th with Ringel, suffering broken left rear suspension after taking a hit at turn two in 22nd.
Tamas Pal Kiss: Race one was a really tough race for me as we had some engine problems and overheating issues, but I tried everything to make my home crowd happy. My start was perfect and I managed to overtake a lot of guys in the first lap, jumping up into P12, but I found myself in a sandwich and lost two positions. It was a good second race, we opted to start with a full wet setup and on wet tyres, which worked very well as I was the fastest man on track at the first part of the race and I just enjoyed to drive in the wet so much! I was very happy to stand up on the podium in front of my home crowd, but naturally a great disappointment to have a penalty. Despite that though, I think we showed we had the pace in the wet and we will bounce back for Spa, which is well known for its changeable weather conditions.
Ethan Ringel: The car felt great for race one but in the second corner, I got hit from behind. I dont understand why drivers at this level throw the car into a corner at the start of the race. My suspension was damaged making driving very difficult for the remainder of the race and I was glad to see the chequered flag. I woke up on Sunday to thunder and heavy rain and I thought it was going to be perfect. However 20 minutes before the race the sun came out. We chose wet tyres and at the beginning I went from P22 to P16. When the track was wet I moved up to 12th, and I was able to go purple in sector one and consistently had the top times. With six laps to go they called me in for a pit stop to change to dry tyres. It was a great experience to top the times in the rain.
David Hayle, Team Principal: After what looked like being a great finish to the weekend with a podium for Tamas on home soil, we were shocked to hear that he had been penalised for crossing the white line, naturally were all gutted for him. It was a difficult situation, his visor was dirty and the glare from the sun on the exit of the pit lane meant he misjudged the exit. However he drove a great race and deserved to be running up at the front, we now head to Spa looking for a strong result for him. Ethan drove another steady race and should also be delighted with his form in the wet. To be fastest in the first sector in those conditions also bodes well for Spa, where we know the weather can play a vital role in the outcome.
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