Swiss racer maintains fifth in Drivers’ Championship
Ralph Boschung maintained his excellent recent form in the GP3 Series with a strong fifth-place finish at the fourth round of the 2016 season at the Hungaroring in Hungary (July 22-24).
Having taken that result in Saturday’s opening race, the Swiss driver looked set to add a similar result on Sunday, only to be denied by a drive-through penalty for contact as he battled for a podium spot.
Boschung, 18, continued his record of qualifying inside the top 10 at every round this year, despite not having the chance to use brand-new rubber at the optimum moment due to a red flag.
A fantastic getaway from 10th by the Koiranen GP driver, still high on confidence after claiming his maiden GP3 victory at the Red Bull Ring earlier this month, brought him up to sixth within a few corners.
He gained another position on the second lap and ran strongly for the remainder of the 22-lap race to make it a fifth points finish in seven races in 2016.
Boschung maintained his fourth-place starting spot during the early corners of Race Two, but a startline accident and immediate safety car prevented him from making up any further ground immediately.
He showed lightning-quick reactions at the restart but was unable to avoid light contact with Charles Leclerc at the penultimate corner of the lap, which caused slight damage to the nose of his Dallara machine.
The Champery driver was hit hard up the rear by Jack Aitken at the next corner and fell four places to eighth. Unfortunately, he was then given a drive-through penalty for the first incident.
The drive-through dropped Boschung to 22nd, but did not prevent the teenager from maintaining his impressive fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship with four of the nine rounds completed.
“After practice, things felt good,” said Boschung. “It’s clear from my pace and that of my team-mates that it was going to be a strong weekend for us.
“From P10 on the grid, I was delighted to make up so many places at the start of Race One and put a good move on Charles Leclerc around the outside of a really tough corner and finish fifth.
“Race Two was a shame. I wasn’t myself in the car and was too aggressive on the re-start. I came into the penultimate corner too fast and touched Leclerc, for which I was given a drive-through and ruined my race.
“Next we go to Hockenheim, which is a track I’ve raced at pretty regularly, and I’m determined to have a quick and clean weekend. I’m not an unfair driver and I don’t want a reputation as one.
“As usual, I would like to extend a warm thanks to the Valais-based building company CP3 and Patrick Polli, Moderntimes Hotel, Platinum Fighter Sales from Los Angeles, and PARC. Finally, I’m extremely grateful to the members of 'Club 50' for their unwavering support and loyalty.”
The fifth round of the 2016 GP3 Series takes place at Hockenheim in support of the German Grand Prix on 29-31 July.
Image copyright: GP3 Series Media Service.