Friday 21st September - Free Practice 1 & 2
With the level of BOP assigned to the Hyundai's the fast straights at Monza were always going to be tough for the i30N; and for Free Practice 1 the weather was dry and sunny and the lack of pace showed quickly with the VAG cars fastest and Vernay topping proceedings in his Audi. Reece continued to build on his lap times throughout this session but finished the FP1 in P14. Free Practice 2 was stronger from Reece pushing into P3 at the mid-way point and closing FP2 in P7.
RB “I really love the Monza circuit but our car is so high and heavy we stand no chance of competing against the other cars especially the Audi and Cupra’s which are flying on such a fast track. We have to be smart for Quali and use ‘slip-streaming’ for the entire lap to minimise the impact but I’m sure the VAG and Honda guys will also maximise their drafting. We tried a different suspension setting for FP1 but reverted back for FP2 for better overall performance - so let's see”
Saturday 22nd - Qualifying
The mid-morning start for Quali with sunshine conditions and Reece was running in P15 as he prepared his tyres and as he started his fast run in a perfect tow behind his team mate [Richard] the No.8 Hyundai suddenly slowed which was first thought to be for a red flag incident with all cars returning to the pits for pressure adjustments but more disappointment was to unfold for the teenage racer. Unfortunately as Reece followed the cars along pit-lane his Hyundai came to a standstill just short of his garage needing assistance from his Target mechanics to his box; and while the other competitors quickly rolled out for a two lap dash the No.8 Hyundai remained in the garage and unfortunately slipping to P18 at the close of Quali.
RB “yea our suspicions from yesterday’s free practice have materialised with engine failure’ my power just wasn’t right yesterday as it was difficult to stay in the tow of other i30’s and while P18 is disappointing if we need to change the engine we will start at the back of the grid for Race 1 and P18 for Race 2 - not ideal on this circuit but a least it’s a good track for overtaking”
Saturday 22nd September - Race 1
Race 1 Saturday afternoon was exemplar summer conditions which attracted a big attendance to Monza circuit for the opening races of the weekend; Reece was starting from P28 on the grid due to a engine replacement penalty; in the early laps the No.8 Hyundai was pushing hard but with two separate Safety-car sessions the race laps were reduced accordingly which restricted Reece’s run from the back to finish P16.
RB “I didn’t get a great start and overtaking at the back was a bit sketchy and with reduced race laps it was hard to do anything from that far back; this racing is all about Friday Qualifying and fairly applied BOP which needs to be track specific. I start from P18 in Race 2 and a points finish is now the goal; it’s impossible to hold the faster cars without making contact which doesn’t serve anyone well so we just need to limit the disadvantages and finish”
Sunday 24th September - Race 2
Race 2 Sunday mid-morning was again fabulous weather conditions and Reece took up his compromised P18 qualifying position on the grid and with an excellent start quickly moved forward to P13 and following the restart after a Safety-car period with three laps to go Reece move into P9 on the road with Giovanardi - Alfa Romeo overtaking the No.8 Hyundai on the last lap; and with the Peugeot of Abreu running in P6 receiving a ‘stop and go’ penalty Reece was classified with a P9 finish to Race 2.
RB “I really enjoyed that race and the new engine was better than Race 1 and while we still lacked overall performance this weekend our race pace was decent and I’m very happy to finish in the points given the limitations of this weekend in terms of BOP, Engine Failure, Compromised Qualifying and the related Grid Penalty.
“I was hoping for better results this season which has just flown past and now it's down to Barcelona which will be super exciting to race; I have to say I’ve learned loads about the different style of European racing and will be pushing hard for the final two races”
Barcelona - Round 7 20th and 21st October 2018
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