DRIVER NEWS: Maro Engel endured a frustrating outing at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium last weekend, after mechanical failure and weather conditions hampered any chance of victory.
The 21 year-old Mercedes backed driver was the fastest in both practice sessions and qualified second for both races, making him the most consistently quick driver around the 4.2 mile long circuit.
Conditions remained dry for race one on Friday evening, which would take in 12 laps of the circuit. However, as the young German’s Carlin car struggled away from the line, it was clear that there was a problem. After limping round the circuit for two laps, Engel was forced to retire with a gearbox problem. Starting from second on the grid again for race two, Engel had little chance to make amends for the previous day’s frustrations, as heavy rain led to the race being started behind the safety car. With just four racing laps, Engel had little opportunity to improve on his position, despite an attempt to pass Kennard at La Source. With an accident bringing the safety car out again on lap 6, Engel had to be satisfied with a second place as the cars filed past the chequered flag under safety car conditions.
Reflecting on his weekend, Engel commented, “I’m very disappointed. We were very, very quick throughout the weekend. I was a little bit disappointed not to get pole, but it wasn’t too much of an issue because I knew we would have good pace in the race. What happened in race one was just a massive blow and a disappointment for the whole team. I’m absolutely sure we could have won that race. Sam did a great job to win but we certainly had the upper hand over him in qualifying and practice. Considering where Marko [Asmer] started it’s a lost opportunity.
“Race two was better, it was good to get on the podium and get some points. But it wasn’t really a race. I’m a bit frustrated that the organisers decided yet again to start the race behind the safety car. The organisers kept the safety car out for a lap when the track was clear, which was another lost opportunity. I can’t imagine it was a very interesting race for the fans or for TV. The spray made conditions very difficult, but it was still possible to race. I did have a look up the inside of Kennard when he made a mistake on one of the few racing laps we had, but I couldn’t quite make it past him. Race two was certainly not a bad result, but it’s disappointing not to get a win after being so quick all weekend, it’s not quite the result I would have expected.”