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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Maya Weug battles challenging conditions at Zandvoort

Maya Weug showed good pace at Zandvoort - gaining nine positions from the start in race 1 - and was on course to produce another great charge up the field in a very wet race 2, when she fortunately escaped unharmed from a big accident where visibility proved challenging. The focus is now on the season finale at Hockenheimring.

Maya Weug, KIC motorsport, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, 2023 Zandvoort
Photo credits: Sebastiaan Rozendaal | Dutch Photo Agency

The penultimate round of the Formula Regional European Championship ended in disappointment for Maya Weug who escaped unharmed following a crash in the second race of the weekend at Zandvoort.

The KIC Motorsport driver showed great race pace across the weekend, moving from 23rd to 19th in a dry race one and had gained nine positions from her starting position in a wet race two. Visibility was challenging however, with Maya involved in an incident behind the safety car which resulted in contact with two other cars.

Weug walked away from the crash and will be looking ahead to return to form in the season finale at the Hockenheimring in less than a weeks’ time.

Maya arrived at Zandvoort as the third highest rookie in the Formula Regional European Championship and with points scoring finishes in six of her last ten races, she was aiming to continue this good run of form. A pair of collective tests on Thursday were first on the agenda, with both of the 90-minute sessions held in wet conditions. Finishing 23rd in session one and 22nd in session two, it was a consistent start to the weekend for the KIC Motorsport driver.

Friday’s running was also held in wet conditions and the pair of collective tests saw Maya complete a further 35 laps. It was a day of improvement for Weug who ended the first session in 18th, before improving to 11th in session two while being the fourth fastest rookie driver.

A further challenge was presented to the drivers ahead of qualifying on Saturday morning, with a dry track and cool ambient temperatures. This was the first dry running for the Formula Regional European Championship drivers during the weekend, therefore learning reference points and making decisions surrounding car setup would be challenging.

Participating in Group B, Weug showed fantastic speed in both sectors two and three but with times so close this resulted in a 12th place result in her group, meaning she would line up 23rd overall for race one.

The opening race of the weekend was also held in dry conditions and Maya made a fantastic start, gaining two positions by the end of lap one. As drivers fought for position into turn one at the beginning of lap two, Weug was shuffled back and lost a number of positions. A great effort to recover lost time in the remainder of the lap saw the KIC Motorsport driver close out the second lap in 23rd, moving up to 22nd on lap three with a smart overtake on Tom Lebbon.

Maya’s pace was encouraging in the early stages and her promising charge forward was halted by a safety car period on lap six. It was a lengthy stoppage to remove the stricken car of Giovanni Maschio and following the resumption of the race, Weug gained two positions as she overtook both Nikhil Bohra and Ivan Domingues.

Her excellent restart continued as she gained two further positions on the following lap with the KIC Motorsport driver now running 18th. Maya continued to apply pressure to the drivers ahead, but with overtaking difficult at Zandvoort, she was unable to make further progress. Dropping behind Bohra with two laps remaining, Weug took the checkered flag in 19th position overall, fourth highest among the rookie drivers.

Maya Weug, KIC motorsport, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, 2023 Zandvoort
Photo credits: Diederik van der Laan | Dutch Photo Agency

Conditions for Sunday’s second qualifying session took a turn just prior to the green flag with heavy rain falling on what looked set to be a predominantly dry track. Therefore, drivers fitted the wet tyres and knew their times at the beginning of the session may possibly be the fastest they could manage.

Maya looked in position to secure a solid sixth place in her group until a late spin into the gravel meant that she lost her fastest lap from the session. As a result, it looked set to be a challenging race two for the KIC Motorsport driver who would line up 29th.

With wet track conditions continuing into race two, all drivers fitted the wet tyres for the start. Making excellent progress from 29th position, Maya gained six positions on the opening lap to climb into 23rd. Passing Ivan Domingues and Pierre-Alexandre Provost on successive laps, Weug was into 21st by the end of lap three.

Heavy rain then started to fall and with Maya now inside the top-20, the safety car was deployed as lap five reached a conclusion. Despite the slower speeds, visibility was extremely challenging and following a driver ahead spinning under the safety car, Maya made contact with her competitor and was subsequently collected by a further driver. Weug got out of the car under her own power and was fortunately unharmed, but this incident resulted in just her third retirement of the season.

Despite the difficulties Maya faced at Zandvoort, she escaped unharmed from a sizeable crash in race two where visibility proved challenging even under the safety car. Until then, she had produced an excellent drive through the field in wet conditions following a good performance in race one where she was able to improve upon her grid position.

The KIC Motorsport driver will now be aiming to end the season on a high when the Formula Regional European Championship returns for its season finale at the Hockenheimring.

Maya Weug, KIC motorsport, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, 2023 Zandvoort
Photo credits: Sebastiaan Rozendaal | Dutch Photo Agency



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