Tech 1 Racing’s potential poorly rewarded at Hockenheim

Last weekend, Tech 1 Racing went to Hockenheim to take part in the final of the Formula Renault NEC with two drivers, Thomas Neubauer and Gabriel Aubry. The first took advantage of the event to continue accumulating experience, while Aubry was still in with a chance of winning the title despite his absence and ineligibility to score points at two meetings. But despite their very best efforts Simon Abadie’s men returned from Germany without trophies.

On Friday, Aubry and Neubauer had productive practice outings on a track that was dry in the morning and soaking wet in the afternoon. These conditions caught out Neubauer so he wasn’t in the most offensive frame of mind when he tackled qualifying: his team-mate was fourth in both sessions.

On Saturday morning Aubry lost a place when the lights went out despite making a good start. The Frenchman fought back and did everything he could to snatch back third. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to find an opening and his car suffered some minor damage, which affected its speed. Because of this he was caught by two of his pursuers who got the better of him.  At the same time Neubauer had a quiet race and gained one place to finish fourteenth.

In the afternoon Aubry made another good start but got hemmed in and fell back to sixth. The French driver’s chances were dashed when he had to pit to have a damaged front wing replaced, and his race ended shortly afterwards as he had to stop due to brake problems. Neubauer was able to match the pace of the last two title contenders and fought his way up to eleventh.

The results are not a fair reflection of our level of performance this weekend,” said Olivier Maernhout, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. “On Friday Gabriel was on the pace no matter what the conditions. The result was good qualifying performances on a soaking wet track. He was among the drivers who were best-placed to score a podium finish. Although he made a very offensive start in the first heat, he lost a little too much time behind another driver and his car suffered minor damage in the battle. He again made a good getaway in the second one, but we had to bring him in for safety reasons to replace his damaged wing. We’re still investigating the brake problem that stopped him for good.

Thomas started off on the right base on what was his first outing at Hockenheim. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find his bearings in practice in the rain and because of his minor off he lost track time in these conditions. It cost him dearly in qualifying as he still had to find his marks. When starting at the back of the grid it’s always more difficult to show one’s potential, but Thomas was able to get his act together in the final and put on a solid, complete and offensive performance to finish on a high note.”

Aubry was fifth in the overall classification even though he took part in five fewer races than the drivers in front of him. In the teams’ classification Tech 1 Racing finished second gaining a place compared to its first season last year.

“Overall, Gabi, Thomas and the whole team learned a lot at this event,” summed up Maernhout, “Thomas especially, as that was his aim. We’re convinced that Gabriel will remember the lessons he learned in his duels in view of the final of the Formula Renault Eurocup where our aim will be to finish our campaign in a blaze of glory! While we’re now looking forward to Barcelona (27-29 October), we’d like to thank the organisers of the Formula Renault NEC for the 2017 season, which has helped us to work with our drivers in great races in very productive conditions.”