Ralph achieves career-best in qualifying
Ralph Boschung launched his GP3 Series campaign with one of his most convincing weekend performances to date as the new season kicked off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain last weekend (May 13-15).
The 18-year-old Swiss driver took a career-best ninth place in qualifying and added two solid top-10 finishes to open his 2016 season with a championship point.
Boschung, who has joined the Koiranen GP team this year, acquitted himself well to set the 12th fastest time in a rain-affected practice session and head into qualifying in confident mood.
An impressive ninth spot on the grid – his highest since joining the GP3 Series – made him the fastest of the Koiranen drivers in the session.
He achieved this despite opting to save a crucial set of fresh Pirelli tyres for the races, thereby missing out on the use of fresh rubber when grip levels peaked.
After losing a place at the start of race one, Boschung was unfortunately unable to exploit the superior performance of his new tyres as lower-than-predicted track temperatures meant his rivals experienced minimal degradation from their own, older rubber.
On a circuit where overtaking is no easy feat, he settled for 10th place – ahead of his team-mates – and scored a championship point in the process.
Race two, held on Sunday morning, delivered an identical result as Boschung ran tenth for the duration.
Round two of this year’s GP3 Series takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 1-3, but Boschung and the rest of the field will head to the circuit on June 7-8 for two days of official testing at the Austrian Grand Prix venue.
Ralph Boschung said: “I leave Spain with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s great to come to a new team in Koiranen GP, to be on pace, do my best qualifying in GP3 and get a point in the first race. But on the other, I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t show the true pace that we had. I strongly believe that we had the potential to be inside the top five in qualifying.
“We chose to save set of new tyres for the race, but the degradation we were expecting never came, and it’s very tough to overtake here. I think there’s reason to be optimistic heading to the next races though. Once again, I would like to extend a warm thanks to the Valais-based building company CP3, Moderntimes Hotel, Platinum Fighter Sales from Los Angeles and my new sponsor PARC. Finally, I’m extremely grateful to the members of 'Club 50' for their unwavering support and loyalty.”
Image copyright: GP3 Series Media Service.