Théo Pourchaire was content with his Qualifying efforts in pursuit of a fightback in the Drivers’ Championship. Though he secured a promising P4 on the grid, he was frustrated that final lap shenanigans denied him an opportunity to put together the perfect lap.
While his opening attempt gave ART Grand Prix much to smile about as both he and teammate Frederik Vesti worked together to get up into P3 and P1 respectively, the hectic conclusion to the session and traffic problems created many headaches in the final moments. Pourchaire put the blame squarely on his title rival's shoulders for causing the chaos that ensued.
“The session wasn't too bad, especially the beginning was very good. We had a very good tyre warm up from my teammate and we could push a lot on the car. I made a mistake, that's why I was not P2 or even P1 - Turn 1 I locked the rears, but apart from that we found the limits.
“We were ready for a second run, but unfortunately on the second run it was more difficult to warm up. We were in the pack and before starting the lap (Felipe) Drugovich overtook everyone. So to be honest it was complicated from that to do a good lap. We still got P4 and P7 which is not too bad, but honestly it could have been a lot better.”
One of two teams to get both drivers into the top 10 alongside Hitech Grand Prix, it’s shaping up to be another competitive weekend for ART off the back of their double podium in Le Castellet.
While Pourchaire is thrilled at the chance of rain throwing some surprises up in the Sprint Race, he’s cautious about racing in the wet given the potential for errors.
“I think we have a really good car so we can score many points this weekend. We just need to continue like that to work hard and we will see tomorrow. I think it's going to be a bit special. If something happens tomorrow, I don’t know but it’s going to be wet for sure.
“Sunday it will probably be dry, we know what to do in the dry. We did some very good races recently and the team is ready, the mechanics, the start procedure is good for both of us as well. We can expect a good result.
“If I look at my phone, it's going to be very, very wet. We will see but why not? It can be good to have a wet race here because as we know it’s quite difficult to overtake so it can create some really spectacular races. I hope we will drive because it looks like it's very, very heavy rain and you know there is Formula 3, W Series, Formula 1 and Formula 2 so they need to prioritise F1. We will see but hopefully we will have a spectacular race, I hope in the rain."
Outqualified by Drugovich but ahead of fellow title contender Logan Sargeant on the grid, the trio will all line up in Championship order for Sunday’s Feature Race. While going wheel-to-wheel with his rivals is an exciting prospect, Pourchaire recognised that consistency must be his goal if he aims to claw back the MP Motorsport driver’s 39-point advantage with 10 races to go.
“We'll start both races really close so we can expect some good fights. I try to not think too much about the Championship, but I will try to move forward in each of the races and score as many points as possible. I know it's important, there's still a few races to go and I have time to recover, but it's important to score good points this weekend.”