Dennis Hauger experienced a reversal in fortunes in the Monte Carlo Feature Race, profiting from a well-timed Safety Car to surge through from P17 on the grid to finish fifth by the chequered flag.

Gaining positions around one of the toughest tracks to pass on was never going to solely be down to overtaking prowess, with the strategic game pivotal around the Principality. Reigning Champions MP Motorsport got theirs spot on for the Norwegian, a nice change of pace after a challenging opening to the season says Hauger.

“Obviously we had a bit of luck, I think. But again, we had a good first lap, got up from P17 to I think P13 or something like that. I think we were on a good strategy with the primes and got past the guys we needed to in the first lap. From there, we had some option runners in front of us so could sort of just keep the momentum going and when they pitted, I got some clean air for myself. Obviously with the Safety Car, we got that at the right time, but it's nice to have a bit of luck as well sometimes.

“I thought we were gonna be in a good position, especially when the Safety Car came out. I wasn’t sure where the other guys were in terms of pitstops, so I thought when the Safety Car came out, we would gain some positions, but it wasn't sure how many. I heard but it was all just a bit of a chaotic thing and then we managed to get out of it in a positive way, which is nice.

“It's a good feeling to have, I haven't felt like I've had that much luck this year, so it's a good feeling to have a bit after what I would say has been a hard weekend and end it on a bit of a high. They are important points and we’re happy with it. Obviously I didn't think I was going to be P5 after starting P17 in Monaco, so I'll take that and move forward.”

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His P5 finish also came despite a time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The MP driver was forced to take evasive action into the first corner at the start of the race, cutting Turn 1 and gaining positions ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi and Kush Maini.

The Red Bull junior chalked it up to the limited space afforded to the drivers on the streets of Monte Carlo. He was happy that fortunes went in his favour for once after getting caught up in a crash in the Sprint Race on Saturday.

READ MORE: FEATURE RACE: Vesti in control of Monte Carlo and Drivers’ Championship

“Going into Turn 1, especially if you're in the midfield or further back, it's quite hard to judge. So in the end, I just took the inside in a moment where I knew things could have ended badly, so it was just safer. I got a penalty in the end but we were able to serve it under the Safety Car which was obviously ideal for us.”

His Sunday performance was stronger than he might have imagined after ending up so far down the order in Qualifying following Red Flag stoppages in both groups. Having had the opportunity to run the supersofts for an extended period on Saturday gave him and the team knowledge of how the tyres would perform over a longer race stint.

Come Sunday, Hauger extracted the maximum from the tyres which allowed him to capitalise in a big way prior to the Safety Car, gaining track position and plenty of places.

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“In the Sprint we were involved in the crash in the chicane, so we had to pit and we went on the supersoft to be fair, and obviously the pace wasn't going to be great from there doing 29 laps on the supersoft. So we were just testing a bit and seeing how the tyres would work for today.

“In the end, that helped and we made the right call for a strategy which worked out nicely. It was all depending on what other guys around us we're doing, but the pace was not too bad today.

“We were not on the top steps but still, hanging on to the P5 with all the issues, that's a good feeling and obviously we have something to work on for Barcelona in terms of a Qualifying pace. I'm trying to be on top of things before we head into that weekend.”

READ MORE: Stanek raring to go in Barcelona after Monte Carlo Feature Race points

Morale is high then heading into the Barcelona race weekend and the targets for MP and Hauger are clear. Looking back to a year ago, MP was the dominant force around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the hands of 2022 Champion, Felipe Drugovich. Hauger is hoping to emulate the Brazilian’s storming performance this season around a venue where the Dutch outfit feels it is near its strongest in terms of speed.

“Hopefully we can have a good weekend. They were really strong last year there so we're trying to do a better job in Qualifying to be on top of things. But, we are looking forward to the races that’s for sure.”