Jüri Vips had to settle for fifth in the Zandvoort Sprint Race, but the Hitech Grand Prix driver is optimistic of his chances in the Feature on Sunday. The Sprint was all but decided on the opening lap, with driver’s able to get close to their rivals ahead but, due to Zandvoort’s tricky layout, overtaking proved difficult.
Hitech teammate Marcus Armstrong was able to demonstrate Hitech’s great speed, taking the lead on the opening lap and going on to win the race on Saturday comfortably.
Vips is looking forward to having another opportunity to prove his speed in the main event on Sunday morning. The Estonian stated that he and the team already have an idea on where they can improve further for the Feature.
“I had a lot in reserve, and I was probably too close for most of the race to Liam (Lawson), and then I dropped off maybe the last 30% of the race and then didn’t really have the pace, but it wasn’t too bad. Most of the race I had quite a lot in hand but was too close, so it killed my tyres. I think we’re looking quite good for tomorrow.
“There are little things we can work on. I’ve already seen from the data. Our start was quite good today, especially Marcus’. We’ll just try and work on little bits to make it better for tomorrow. We need a first good lap.”
Vips was attacking at the start, looking to pass Clément Novalak for second position but was caught out as the field concertinaed up through Turns 2 and 3.
The MP Motorsport driver conceded in his fight against Armstrong, baulking the Hitech driver’s momentum heading into the banked T3. As a result, Dennis Hauger was able to sneak past in his PREMA Racing car for the final podium spot.
“I think it was Novalak on the inside that I followed on lap 1. He was side-by-side with Marcus, and I thought he was going to out-brake him and get the lead. I stuck to the inside line and gone done by Hauger. Other than that, it was all fine, we’re not talking about a lot of points with it being the Sprint Race. It’s more of a test session for us tomorrow when the big points are handed out.”
All of the field is expecting a more action-packed affair in the Feature Race. With the opportunity to play the strategy game, it will open up the prospect of a more closely fought race than in the Sprint.
Vips admitted that many had expected the shorter race to unfold in the fashion it did, but said he enjoyed the challenge that the Zandvoort circuit represents for all the drivers. Along with the strategic element, the longer race could open up chances as a result of mistakes around such a physical circuit according to the Hitech man.
“We were expecting it to be honest. You can’t have a DRS train and overtake anyway. If the guy ahead is isolated then you need to be within three-tenths, so it’s very difficult to overtake. You need a very big drop off for the guy ahead or a mistake. I think a mistake are quite easy to happen. It didn’t seem like a lot but there was a lot of but, at least for me, there was a lot of degradation.
“I think tomorrow there will be more action with the pit stops and more opportunities with that, but to overtake on pure pace will be difficult. The track is very enjoyable. As a layout, its probably one of my favourites, Qualifying was my favourite to do here, it is very physical. I can see why some people that don’t go to the gym enough struggle here. It’s a good challenge, I like it.”