Charging through the field and capitalising on his rivals’ mistakes, Richard Verschoor expertly managed an exacting wet-to-dry Sprint Race to put some unlikely points on the board. Converting P12 on the grid to P6 by the chequered flag, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver was satisfied to have something to show for his efforts but believes there’s still pace yet to be unlocked.

Starting outside the points, Verschoor was counting on something shaking up the field and the Dutch driver’s dreams came true with a heavy downpour leading up to lights out, turning the race on its head. Admitting that the wet conditions amplified their performance relative to those around him, executing a measured race proved to be the difference as others faltered.

“I really enjoyed that one! I was hoping for some rain before the race started. I don't think we were the fastest car out there, but I still managed to do a good race, so I'm really happy with that. A lot of things to improve for tomorrow. Even though we had only a few laps in the dry, I think that we need to work on some things.

“People struggled on the first lap and some people touched each other, but we kept it clean. I overtook two guys and I think the others went off, but then we were P8 after the first lap. We had the guts to go in early to pit for softs and unfortunately, the Safety Car came out. Otherwise, it would have been a very good move to do that.”

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Once the rain faded away, a switch to slicks eventually became inevitable. However, correctly timing it proved to be a more challenging affair. Jehan Daruvala, Kush Maini and Zane Maloney all gambled on Lap 17, with his VAR teammate Juan Manuel Correa following them into the pits one lap later.

The right time was to jump on to the softs proved to be the end of Lap 19 as Daruvala posted a lap three seconds quicker than the race leader Frederik Vesti. Sacrificing eighth on track to box on Lap 20, Verschoor says the team timed the decision to perfection.

READ MORE: SPRINT RACE: Vesti puts on wet weather masterclass and resists late Pourchaire charge

Although the Virtual Safety Car and later full Safety Car ultimately hampered him, gifting those ahead a free pit stop whilst retaining their positions, the VAR driver critically had one additional lap of running to get them up to temperature in preparation for the restart. Yet the restart didn’t quite go according to plan, forcing him to go on the defensive to salvage his hard work.

“The lap we went was perfect. Straight away on the out lap I felt confident with the slicks. I think a few laps earlier would have been too wet. I was ready for the restart because I’d already done my out lap and some of the guys had less laps.

“It was tricky – I almost spun at the restart! I’m not sure that was shown, but I almost went off. Then, I had two cars beside me with Oliver Bearman and Amaury Cordeel, and luckily, I out-braked both of them, so that was cool.”

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Saturday’s wet-to-dry running has had a knock-on effect, with the drivers’ and teams’ ability to gather relevant data on tyre degradation impacted by the limited slick running. With only six laps on the softs, it can’t be fully utilised as preparation for a circuit that is notorious for its emphasis on tyre management.

Expecting a much greener Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, with Formula 1 and Formula 3’s running rubbering the track back up. Lining up in P12 once again, Verschoor’s keeping his fingers crossed for another intervention from the weather, but remains pragmatic about his potential in the drier conditions.

“It’s good that we had some laps on the slicks, but I don’t think we were strong. We can look into it now why we were not and hopefully improve for tomorrow. It’ll be different again, I hope it rains, but I’m not sure.

“We’re in the mood with good hopes right now after finishing P6, but it was not the usual race. So, to be very realistic, if I could get P10 or P9 that would be a good race. Unless we have super good pace, but that’s something we have to show first.”