Narrowly missing out on points in the Melbourne Sprint Race in ninth, Roy Nissany admits it stings to have come close to getting his 2023 tally going, but ultimately be left unrewarded for his efforts.

After a crash in Free Practice cost him valuable mileage, the PHM Racing by Charouz driver knew he faced an uphill battle to salvage something from the weekend. Utilising all his experience, he and his team navigated a hectic 22-lap race with several curveballs thrown their way, including a slippery Albert Park Circuit, tyre strategy and late drizzle leaving the field weighing up a switch to wet tyres.

Climbing up the order from P14, the Israeli driver believes they did all the right things but is gutted to have missed out on points by just two tenths of a second.

“There was a lot of rain and a lot of Safety Cars, so definitely a lot of action today and I think it was also down to luck a bit. Sometimes you give a payment of bad luck on one weekend and then you get it back in another weekend. So being really, really close to the points and maybe one more lap would have been amazing.

“We were on the soft tyres, that was already a ballsy move that we saw from other cars around too and it had great potential. So, it's such a fragile game, especially with the rain around. We saw cars moving forward and then there was also impossible to stay on track because you don't know what's going to happen and being with slicks on the wet track in front of the walls is not an easy task.

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He added: “It’s not an easy emotion to get over. Not an easy fear, but it was a good call to stick with slicks. So, it's bittersweet because all the calls were right, pace was great, overtakes were done. We were sneaking around all the obstacles we had, but at the end, just less than a second away from the point. We take the positive out of it, and we see progress every race. So, if we keep going like that, it's a matter of time.”

Although the crash in Practice did hamper Nissany during the early phase of the race, he says his tough start actually benefitted him at the end. Struggling to push instantly off the line meant his soft tyres hadn’t begun to fall off their cliff like those around him, allowing him to move up to ninth by the end of the Safety Car’s appearance on Lap 19.

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Taking the positives out of his best result of the season so far, Nissany says he’s learnt a valuable lesson about how changeable conditions can be at the Australian track.

“Absolutely to put together a clean race like that, especially after that very bad Free Practice, it’s good. That came just out of the blue, I caught a piece of 10 centimetres, maybe 20 of grass and that's it, session over after two push laps. It's so hard to come back from this. Luckily, Qualifying was wet, meaning that we didn't have too big a deficit for Qualifying and I could restart together with everyone. It wasn’t my best lap but at least to be somewhere in the mix.

“Then the first few laps of the race, I definitely felt that deficit from Free Practice. So being a bit less confident than the others in front of me and not being able to push and maintain their pace. It took me those five laps to stick in front but in fact, those five laps helped the tyres a bit. So, I could get it back at the end. We played the game well so yes, pretty satisfied.

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“You look at the what's going on on-track. You have an idea of how fast it's going to dry and you get the radar info from the engineer, putting it all together in some sort of a formula that can give you an indication of what's the right thing to do. And for me, understanding that here the weather changes very quickly.

"Radar says normal rain, track is about to dry up, cars are staying on track - in opposed to a test session, for example, that when cars are not staying out and the track is not getting dry. I knew that it was likely to be the right call to stay on slicks, especially that we were very close to the points and at the end, it was the right point the right choice and again, just so close.”

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Eyeing up a repeat performance in Sunday’s Feature Race, Nissany says he’ll be content to nail another top 10 finish. Seeing it as all a part of the team’s progression to eventually be in the hunt for the podiums, he recognises that it’s their one lap pace currently holding them back from showcasing their full potential.

“It's not that it will be a massive achievement, just getting a point. Obviously, we aim higher than this. We want silverware and we are capable of it. It's a matter of Qualifying at the moment, that’s what we're missing because we see the top eight pace in the races, and we are in a big, big, big kind of deficit, at least in Bahrain and Jeddah.

“Here in the rain, it was just a matter of confidence and really another game altogether. I'm sure we're on the right track. We can see it; we can feel it. We know what we want and what's coming up next. So, we'll be working hard for it. If we do the same thing in the Feature, it’s two points and the sky’s the limit.”