X1 Racing League gets ready for its one-day season finale: Polish Gosia Rdest is looking forward to a bit more lucky Chennai round to take Blackbirds Hyderabad to the front.
On Sunday 8th December, the inaugural season of X1 Racing League will see its first team crowned champion, after two intense weekends of racing.
The first ever Indian franchise-based championship will witness a busy schedule on the Chennai race track, as the whole racing activities were moved to its final day of action due to "unforeseen logistical issues".
This will make the teams work extra hard in order to prepare the 12 cars for the two practice sessions, two qualifying and three races. The initial calendar of 4 races per round has in fact also been left cut short by the revised plan.
With such a short calendar, consistency is everything and so far the Mumbai Falcons and Bangalore Racing Stars seemed to have the upper hand. The hectic second day at Buddh International Circuit, though, proved that anything can happen in motorsports and even more so in the brand-new X1 Racing League.
Blackbirds Hyderabad lined up an impressive international squad, featuring former F1 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi and Polish W-Series driver Gosia Rdest. The duo had a very unlucky opening race, with Liuzzi being hit and forced out of the competition after a couple of corners. 26-year old Rdest could not even start her stint, but was then very consistent in the following races, collecting two fourth place finishes.
Gosia, a well spoken young lady with a keen interest in journalism, is a GT4 race winner that, despite missing out on a top-12, had a encouraging first W-Series season. The Polish lady was unlucky not to capitalize on sheer speed and finished just a couple of points short of the automatic confirmation on the all-female F3 championship.
With the invitation to the inaugural Indian series, she is part of a very highly-ranked group of elite female drivers such as fellow W-Series driver Alice Powell, Pippa Mann, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Mira Erda.
In her very distinctive helmet (mixing Ayrton Senna's yellow and green colours with the white and red of her native Poland), Gosia proved she has the speed to aim for the top.
We joined forces with Indian motorsport blogger Soumil Arora, who had the chance to chat with Gosia Rdest after the opening round of the X1 Racing League at Buddh International Circuit.
The most important thing is to do what you love: if you love motorsports, drive.
SOUMIL: How was the Blackbirds Hyderabad first weekend?
GOSIA: The team is great, the track is amazing, the crowd is even more than fine! Unfortunately we were missing just some luck: it was a proper emotional rollercoaster, with ups and downs. In the first race, my teammate got hit from the back so I was not able to even drive a single lap. Then the second race went quite ok, we were able to finish fourth.
In the third race we finished also fourth. We though we would finish third, because of a jumpstart, which was just on the line. But so far we're happy with that. In the last race, it was proper team-work: at the beginning, the first three stints were working fine and we were fighting for the lead, as we were in P2, but our throttle pedal just went down and it broke, so that was it. We had to say goodbye to our P2 and we didn't finish the race.
I'm very happy, very satisfied as it's been an amazing event: the crowd here were cheering for us and supporting us - that was something I was not expecting, to have that huge crowd, that was amazing.
S: What's your take on the team? How was adapting to it? Normally we don't have five drivers in one team, but here we do have. What has it been to gel in with them?
G: To be honest, in the beginning I didn't know what to expect, it was a bit challenging: I didn't know the drivers, I knew just Akhil [Rabindra]. We had the chance to compete against each other in 2018 in the GT4 European Series, so we had some contact. But the team was brand new for me, we didn't know each other at all. I had the luck that the team turned out to be very good, very helpful. The mechanics are Italians, so we needed to speak "a little Italian" [she laughs].
But it was fine. As you said, we didn't know each other and there are five drivers, so we needed to take the decision of who would be the four drivers to take part in the races.
We decided according to our pace and I had the luck to share the car with Tonio Liuzzi, a former Formula 1 driver, so it's an amazing experience for me to get something out from his experience. He also got the chance to race here in India, at Buddh International Circuit before.
It was a good weekend, we were just missing that luck, which was crucially needed.
S: You did W-Series last year. Do you think that your single-seater experience with W-Series helped you out with having such a good pace here this weekend?
G: I think definitely. W-Series developed my racing skills, especially the racing skills in terms of driving a single-seater. Most of my experience was based on touring cars and one year in GT4. So definitely I would say that the program that was provided to us with testing days and with really amazing engineers helped me to understand how the single seater works, what are the crucial things in terms of driving style and for sure I'm using everything that I learnt now.
S: What is the strategy for next weekend? Of course, the X1 Racing League is only a two weekends' season, so how do you manage it all? With only four races left [three after the revised schedule], what's the approach and strategy for the next round?
G: For next week, from what I know we're going to have some media activities together with Blackbirds Hyderabad team and our partners. I think it's quite cool to get into Indian culture and meeting new people. Regarding the strategy, I think we're staying with how we did, I think we just have to see what to do with the car as maybe we'll change the car. I would say that our strategy for the fourth race would have worked if it wasn't for the throttle issue, we were fast so the strategy will stay the same for the last race.
We had the chance to practice the one-lap pace; it was like super-pole and it was really amazing, to push from the beginning. We'll just pray for a little bit more luck!
S: Finally, any advices for young female racing drivers that want to start off? You're quite an inspiration for many of them. What tips would you give them?
G: Definitely to never give up and follow your dreams. Even if it's hard for you to get any partnerships and sponsorships, believe that it was the same for me: to get one sponsor I was supposed to send one hundred different offers. Do your best, prepare your presentations, push with the fitness preparation because when you'll get the seat time, it will be crucial to use the seat time at 100%.
But the most important thing is to do what you love: if you love motorsports, drive. If you want to be an engineer, study to be a racing engineer. Live your life to the fullest.
The crowd here were cheering for us and supporting us - that was something I was not expecting, to have that huge crowd, that was amazing.
Watch the full interview:
X1 Racing coverage is made possible thanks to the cooperation with Soumil Arora. Check out his social profiles and give him a follow!
Cover photo credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com