"Feeling of relief" for Marta García after first W Series points in Budapest
After a rough start of her second W Series season, the mid-point round at Hungaroring marked a turning point for Marta García: after scoring her first points, she now aims to get back in the game.
In the long build-up to the 2021 W Series season, many predictions were made: would Jamie Chadwick be able to defend her title? Would Alice Powell and Emma Kimilainen start on the front foot despite the long break? How will the newcomers perform? With the increased competitive level, the only easy thing to predict was the inherent unpredictability of the new season. Yet, a name that was constantly brought up by most of her colleagues was Marta García. The 20-year old driver impressed in her first W Series season, claiming a podium at the inaugural race and a commanding victory at the only street circuit on the 2019 calendar. García's performance didn't come as a complete surprise to anyone that had been following the European karting scene: the young Spaniard was often tipped to be one of the most promising upcoming talents. Coming into her second W Series season, Marta García was set to take on the title pursuit; the Spaniard tested in the Formula Renault Eurocup Tatuus and targeted a partial campaign to prepare for her W Series title assault – then the pandemic hit. Marta wasn't able to race throughout 2020 but continued to train hard and stepped up her game at the simulator. When the cars finally hit the track in 2021, though, García had a much more difficult start of the season than anyone would have expected. At the Styrian GP, García qualified seventh in one of the closest fields to date, but an exhaust pipe failure would force her to retire with 9 minutes left on the clock. It was her first DNF in W Series. One week later, Marta García was looking to turn the page with a promising fourth place in practice, but the Austrian racetrack proved not to be a lucky one for the Valencian: a problem at the start left the PUMA driver at the back of the field and she ultimately finished P12. At Silverstone – another unknown track to the Spaniard – García again showed promising signs in the early stages of qualifying, but a penalty picked up for a contact with her teammate Gosia Rdest at the previous round left her 14th on the grid. She then struggled for pace in the race and finished P13 – incredibly leaving her point-counter still at zero after three races. Finally, the real turning point in the season of Marta García came at the half-way mark: in Budapest, she immediately looked able to compete for the top five straight from the 30-minute practice session, as she felt more comfortable with her car. García – who is supported by the Valencia-based team and development program Formula de Campeones and has been training at the simulator within the Centre for Motorsport Training of the Ricardo Tormo circuit (CEDTM) – knew that her driving style would fit the technical and twisty Hungaroring. The scorching temperatures didn't stop her from setting consistent lap times on old tyres, before finishing seventh fastest on the new set of tyres – with again a few tenths separating the drivers at the top-end of the grid. Following a good start, Marta moved into sixth place and eventually finished seventh after a good battle with Emma Kimilainen. She thus scored her first points of the season, which is psychologically an important step coming into the second part of the year. “The feeling is one of relief, after achieving the first points of the season." – she commented. "The first part of the W Series was not easy, and the penalty I had at Silverstone did not help, since it is a track where it is difficult to overtake." "Obviously my goal is to win races, to get the best of myself on the track – and I think Hungary has been that turning point and has given me that 'punch' that I needed to face the rest of the season" – she added. With this weight off her shoulders, García will now return to the track at Spa Francorchamps in three week's time with a rediscovered confidence: with four races to go and a very compact classify, she has everything to play for.