Gosia Rdest returns to Alpine Europa Cup with double Top-10 in Barcelona
At her return to Alpine Europa Cup, Gosia Rdest showed great pace in the two Barcelona races, completing good recoveries and claiming a double-top ten despite the frequent Safety Cars.
At her third season in the Alpine one-make series, fast Polish woman Gosia Rdest has been a consistent presence in the top ten, often showing pace to break into the top five.
Rdest, 29, has previously raced in single seaters, touring cars as well as GT cars, and first joined the French manufacturer as brand ambassador and driver in 2020.
At the wheel of the #3 Bahco-sponsored Chazel Technologie Course Alpine A110 Cup, Rdest had a solid start of the season, with two top ten finishes at Nogaro, before a scoring a sixth place in Magny Cours - so far her best finish this year.
Having missed the third round at Zandvoort, Netherlands, Rdest returned to the series at Circuit de Catalunya, as the series supported the 24 Hours of Barcelona.
Rdest was back with a bang, as she set the third fastest time in practice on Thursday, before qualifying in P8 for the first of the two weekend races.
Simon Tirman (Autosport GP) shared the front row with Laurent Hurgon (LSGroup Autosport GP), with 12 drivers in a second as further proof of the skyrocketing quality of the field. Alpine Europa Cup has in fact produced some remarkable talents in the past couple of years, who went on to race at the top of sportscar competitions.
On Saturday, a big delay from the previous support series forced Alpine Europa Cup to hold its first race under the lights at Barcelona, at 20:10 local time.
Rdest had a good rolling start, but had to take the run off at Turn 1, losing a few places.
The race was heavily disrupted by Safety Car interruptions - the first of them coming right after the start for the stopped #85 car of Thibaut Bossy, who had started from sixth.
One lap later, the green flag waved again, with Tirman leading Hurgon and Cauhaupe.
On the first green lap, Gosia made up one position and moved into P11.
A second neutralization came on lap 5, when Louis Maurice was hit and stopped facing the wrong way in the run-off of Turn 10. Meanwhile, Cauhaupe had managed to move into second position, displacing Hurgon, and was chasing race leader Tirman.
Gosia Rdest had the speed to navigate through the field and gained three more places and would restart from eighth for the final lap shootout.
Paul Cauhaupe made a bold move under braking at Turn 1 and took an impressive win with a last lap pass, preceding Tirman and Hurgon.
Despite the difficult first lap, Gosia Rdest had a very good charging race and recovered to P8; unfortunately she would be demoted to P9 for a penalty.
On Saturday morning, in different conditions from Race 1, Rdest was 11th in Q2, but her race pace soon gained her the top ten once again within one lap.
The Safety Car was deployed on the first lap following a spin by Pierre Macchi, but the race resumed shortly after, with Frayssinet passing Herrero for third place.
Race 1 winner Cauhaupe would then receive a 5 second penalty for unsafe rejoin at Turn 1 at the start - which became a real issue for the driver when a second Safety car was deployed with 9 minutes to go, for the unfortunate contact between Margaux Verza and Jean-Paul Dominici.
Protagonist of another brilliant recovery, Gosia Rdest was again up to eighth place, battling Thibault Bossy for seventh.
In the final minute of the race, just like on Friday evening, Tirman and Cauhaupe battled for the top spot - but the latter was eventually classified sixth, due to his penalty.
Mateo Herrero was also under the steward's scrutiny, as his track limits infringements were converted in a 30 second time penalty-
Tirman took victory from Frayssinet and Hurgon, while Rdest, eighth across the line, was up to P7 once penalties were applied - just one tenth of a second from equalling her best result of the season in sixth.
"Race 2 was quite good, a lot of things were happening" - Gosia said after the race. "Luckily, compared to last evening, there were less Safety Cars, which meant we had more racing."
"The pace was right, I was really battling with two cars in front. It was lucky and unlucky, because I was faster in the parts of the track where I was unable to overtake" - she explained. "I crossed the finish line as the eighth car, but in the end I was classified as seventh, due to penalties."
"Also, it was a bit unlucky because I was missing one tenth to get one more position because of the track limits from the other car. Anyway, Barcelona has been a really nice one, we scored solid points and we now have two more races to go - Monza and Paul Ricard."
With two top ten finishes at her return to the series, Gosia Rdest will now tackle the Temple of Speed, Monza, in two weeks' time for the fifth and penultimate round of the 2022 Alpine Europa Cup.
Additional reporting: Xavi Salas