Motorsport News - Renault
Pic stars at Silverstone with stunning Formula Renault 3.5 Series comeback drive
29th August 2012Challenging track conditions paved the way for Arthur Pic to produce an overtaking masterclass in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series' trip to Silverstone as he fought back from a frustrating opening race to take a brilliant fourth place finish in Sunday's second contest.
The series returned to action at the British Grand Prix venue following a six-week summer break, sharing the bill with the FIA World Endurance Championship. After focussing on set-up work during free practice the DAMS driver secured seventh on the grid for Saturday's race, coping well with typically changeable track conditions at the Northamptonshire circuit.
But the weather would result in a frustratingly short outing for the Frenchman as heavy rain minutes before the start caused havoc during the races early stages. All 26 cars began on dry compound tyres only for the heavens to open as they left the grid, making the opening laps a lottery as drivers attempted to negotiate the circuit on rubber wholly unsuited to the conditions.
Nearly half of the field was eliminated as cars slithered helplessly off track and, after leaping to fifth at the start, the DAMS driver was amongst those to depart proceedings following a collision on the first tour.
Sterling work from his DAMS crew saw Pic's car ready to contest the second qualifying session later that afternoon, the Montlimar native bouncing back with aplomb by producing a rapid last-gasp lap that secured him sixth spot.
Track conditions would once again hamper Pic in race two, but ultimately his early troubles set the scene for a remarkable comeback drive.
The Frenchman's grid slot placed him on the damp side of the track for the start, compromising his getaway and allowing several rivals to stream past through the opening corners.
Dropping to 13th, the DAMS driver immediately set about recovering lost ground, making light work of the cars ahead to quickly return to the top-10 while protecting his tyres for the crucial closing stages.
After a stunning pass on Will Stevens around the outside of Stowe had elevated him to eighth, Pic wasted no time in joining the close-fought dispute over fourth spot.
And in a breathless finish Pics tyre management paid dividends as he charged to the front of this pack to seize fourth at the chequered flag, capping a remarkable performance and ensuring a strong points haul in the process.
Arthur Pic: We werent 100% happy with our set-up during practice and knew there was room for improvement. After trying something different in qualifying one we were seventh fastest, but I made a mistake in the first sector that cost me six tenths, so the front two rows were within reach.
I made a good start in the first race and was fifth exiting turn one, but unfortunately I made contact with Mikhail Aleshin. It was a racing incident: we touched and he suffered a puncture while my front wing became caught under my wheel, forcing me to retire.
The car was good during qualifying two but we were still losing a few tenths in the first sector and ended up sixth fastest. As we were on the wet side of the track I dropped to 13th on lap one, but after that I had a fantastic car which allowed me to overtake several people on my way to fourth. It was a great race and my best recovery drive of the season, so Im very satisfied.
Now well focus on the Hungaroring, which is a completely different circuit to Silverstone. Im feeling confident about the event as I had good results there last year and we have some positive set-up ideas. In the meantime I will also travel to Monza for the grand prix as we have been invited by the World Series organisers to spend Thursday and Friday there. Then I will stay on to watch my brother Charles race on Sunday.
Pic's eye-catching display ensures the DAMS driver departs Silverstone on a high and solidifies the 20-year-olds sixth spot in the close-fought championship. He will be back in Formula Renault 3.5 action when the series travels to Hungary (15-16 September) for the seventh round of the campaign.
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