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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Suzuka International Racing Course. 24 September 2019
April 22, 2013

 

... hoping they will find some when they arrive in Spain. Doug "OMG did u see what I did there!?!!?!?" Hilliard reports...
Round 4 - Hungary
Hungaroring, Mogyord, Hungary
9th-10th April 2013


In what appears to be a topsy-turvy season for both Vod:Bul's SuperCup team and Tanskanen Racing in Formula Challenge, this - sorry - last week's races at the Hungaroring have unfortunately served to represent the opposite in fortune for both teams, compared to the success found at the Red Bull Ring.

While at Austria, Vod:Bul's SC squad celebrated a strong, double points finish, in Hungary the team were packing up long before the race was over, suffering an embarrassing double retirement. For Tanskanen Racing, while both cars finished both races for the first time since Melbourne, there was a sense that while the team felt lucky to snatch a point at Austria, at Hungary the team was very unlucky to miss out.

Hungary also saw a temporary driver shake up, with Dan Rusu deciding not to compete due to problems with his steering wheel; problems that are exacerbated at a twisty circuit like the Hungaroring. In his place sat Ed Williams, promoted up from Tanskanen, with Doug Hilliard filling in once more.

The FC race on Tuesday saw the introduction of Launch Control as mandatory for all FC competitors. Tanskanen had fallen foul of start line crashes at almost every race and so there was much anticipation about the opportunity surviving as far as the first corner may give the team. Unfortunately both drivers were somewhat off the pace; Doug in particular; leaving both cars some distance down the grid.

While both cars were tangled up in separate start line kerfuffles, they both survived with only limited damage, though Mikko was forced to pit for a new nose on lap 5 after being caught out by a spinning car at Turn 4, which all but ruined his race. A further spin on lap 13, again at Turn 4, dropped Mikko behind Doug, who had had several of his own off-track escapades. This then lead to a terrific tag-team battle, with both Tanskanen boys in very close proximity, trying to get past Simon Smith in the final few laps. Mikko managed it, and although Doug come very close, his tyres gave way in the penultimate lap and he was forced to slow up; he was lapped three corners from the end. Both drivers finished a respectable 24th and 26th, albeit both cars could have finished higher.

Both drivers reverted to different setups for Race 2, planning for an unorthodox 1-stop race strategy. Although Doug knew his setup was slower, albeit more stable, Mikko encountered a glitch that seemed to ruin the setup he had hoped to use. Mikko again was hit at the start, but both he and Doug avoided the worst of the carnage at the first corner. Mikko pitted on lap 9, rejoining only just ahead of Simon Smith. Hilliard pitted at the end of lap 12. Afterwards, he effectively held station till the end of the race, finishing 22nd. Mikko fought on, running as high as 16th towards the end, but ultimately he lost out to Menno Klont in the dying laps.

Quotes

Mikko Jakonen #34
"Too slow in Qualifying; need to get better setups, or something."

"I swear that I had tested (Launch Control) a lot of times just before the session on the server and it worked perfectly with my 1st gear. Then on race day it didn't, I bogged down at the start. Very sorry about that, I tested LC against the setup during free practice and after that I couldn't help it anymore. Someone rammed me from behind but miraculously my car wasn't damaged. Lost suspension and front wing as three cars collided after turn 4 which cost me any chance to reach points."

"For Race 2 I started working on the setup of course to get LC working. For some strange reason my setup save file for Race 1 had transformed into something totally different; some rFactor joke. I had to use an inferior setup with a lot less top speed, which made life difficult. At the start Tuomas (Koriala) dodged a stalled car and ran into my side; my front suspension took some damage there. Some problems on the first lap; after that, I drove my own pace; came in for a scheduled pitstop on lap 9. Had some entertaining battles on the way; finished 17th."

Doug Hilliard #35
"I went in knowing that my expectations were low. I had found a rhythm that I was quite happy with and enjoyed driving the car and the track...but I lacked speed. Really could not better a high 1:31 no matter how much I tried. Probably could have gone faster with a setup that Ghovand (Keanie) developed for us but I just didn't have enough time to come to grips with it. Qualifying was pretty much exactly what I expected. "

"Bumped Brandon (Warren) on the first start; sorry about that. I certainly had an issue where it suddenly dawned on me that I couldn't see the lights. I could in fact, but nearly missed the start entirely. First few laps were a bit hectic, and I almost feel I was dazzled a bit by spinning cars - took several laps just to settle down. First race was a bit clumsy in general. Made several mistakes throughout the race which I guess I can say was down to still trying to get to grips with the setup but I didn't stuff it in the wall so all I think I lost really was time; me losing positions was inevitable. That said, I really enjoyed battling with Simon (Smith); powersliding my way around the inside was fun though unfortunately it did somewhat destroy my ailing tyres. Had to let Simon go; got lapped in the last three corners which I think spared me the blushes of struggling around the last lap - plus I got to photobomb the finish! "

"Second race was much better - reverted to a slower but stabler setup, though it necessitated a pitstop. In the warmup I also tested it and it seemed to be much quicker in terms of getting off the line. In reality I was quick off the line. Then I bogged down. Slowed up seeing the kerfuffle between Mikko and Tuomas, then hugged the curb at turn one, luckily avoiding any further bother. Still made a few mistakes but drove a steady race. Had a few fun moments, well, holding up faster cars for a lap or two before they got by. Let Mikko by whenever he appeared, tried to follow him but truth was everyone just drove off into the distance. Started 26th, pitted from 20th, finished 22nd... fair return I think. In the end, I had fun and really can't complain."

Juha Tanskanen - Team Principle
"I'd say we did and didn't meet our expectations. We still have lots of potential that we haven't been able to materialize fully so far. So from that perspective the races at Hungary were a slight disappointment as we weren't able to progress with the car in the way we would have wanted to, but we still have to remember that we are a new outfit in the series and we're still in middle of structuring some things inside the team so in that light the results are still promising."

"I would say though that Mikko was very unlucky not to finish higher. He was showing promising pace in race 1 and he was moving up at the field, but then he had a minor accident which destroyed his front wing and his race was more or less over at that point. This also ruined his second race as well, due to his position on the grid. However this wasn't the only problem we encountered for race 2; as an added insult, we had quite a mysterious setup problem which didn't really help us at all. However, Mikko did his ultimate best in the given situation and I'm very sorry for him, as I feel that he deserved a better result than what he got in the end."

"On the other hand, Doug's results have still been encouraging when we note that he hasn't driven the car as much when compared to our other drivers. So I'm satisfied with the work that he's done so far."

"In terms of strategy, I don't feel that we could have done anything differently. Of course it's always easy to speculate afterwards, but like I said I don't feel that we could have done anything differently to achieve a better result than what we got."


The following day it was the SuperCup boys' turn. Despite having barely any preparation time, Ed Williams showed immediate and strong pace in the car, while Morten was looking to capitalise on a career-best outing at the previous round. However, fate had a cold, craggy hand ready to slap any optimism or joy from the faces of the Vod:Bul team.

Morten and Ed ended up 16th and 18th on the grid, respectively, which was perhaps a disappointing return. Ed however made a great start, making up 5 places into the first few corners. Unfortunately at turn 4 he hit Martin O'Connor, sending the innocent Irishman hurtling into the barriers. Though Ed was not critically damaged himself, his race further unravelled within two corners when a tangle with Mark Wicks sent Ed into a spin which dropped him to the back of the field. 4 laps later Ed would again fall foul of turn 4, like so many drivers during the meeting, and his race was over.

Morten fought on, pitting from 12th at the end of lap 13, coming back out 15th. Within a few laps, Morten had battled his way back up to 11th but unfortunately fate served one last bitch-slap at the beginning of lap 23 as Morten lost the back end under braking, challenging Patrick Gatewood into turn 1. Out of control, Morten's car flew backwards over the grass and directly into the path of Gatewood. The resulting collision left Morten having literally lost the back end of his car and he was out.

All in all, a rather downbeat end to a meeting that had promised quite a good deal more.

Quotes

Morten Wernersen #21
"Well, what goes up must come down; that was a bit like what the race felt like today. Everything was going well; I stayed out of trouble in the start and started getting into a rhythm. I knew I had to keep the pace high in the first half of the race, and not to waste to much time behind slower cars. I took my pitstop almost as planned; was hoping to stretch it to lap 13, but I had to pit on 12 instead. I got back out and made some good overtakes on Davakos and Bennet, but my luck ran out when I came up to Gatewood. I got a really good run on him on the start/finish straight and pulled right up beside him, but then I braked a bit too late and too hard and the rear just span out, like it did in Melbourne, and I spun onto the grass and over the curbs, and back onto the track where Gatewood unfortunately hit the back of my car, dislodging my rear wheel and killing the engine. Race over."

"It was a shame; I didn't have the pace like last round but a points finish was very possible, even a top ten finish."

Ed Williams #20
"Was awesome to have a go in the SC cars, I really enjoyed driving them at a track I really enjoy as well. I did not have a very smooth race weekend overall my setup had the wrong gears, guess I just forgot to save them or something so I spent most of qually trying to change them only got 1 run in which put me in 16th I think. Had a really good start was up to 12th before I accidentally hit someone coming into turn 3/4 which sent them off and out of the race and I apologise for that I didn't account for lag/cold brakes completely my fault. Heading into the chicane someone was overtaking me on the inside and I think I locked a brake and was sent into the wall. Pitted for a new front wing then was trying really hard to make up the time to the cars in front and catching them at 2-3 seconds a lap before a mistake on the exit of turn 4 sent me into the wall and took off the front suspension and my race was over. Although short I really enjoyed driving the SC cars."


Mike Pitman - Team Owner
"Coming off the back of a great weekend in Austria we had high hopes here too. Dan not being able to compete here meant Ed came into the fold and showed pace. For his first Supercup race he showed there is potential there for sure but some bad luck and maybe some inexperience with the car showed through in the end. If Ed gets another chance in the car this year I know he will be prepared and ready to show what he can really do. Morten showed once again that his race pace is good at whatever track he is at, it was great to see him coming through the field again. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and two DNF didn't bring the return we could have achieved here. Both drivers were fast enough for top 10 finishes and it gives me optimism for the rest of the season."



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