Mixed feelings for Gosia Rdest at Magny Cours
Gosia Rdest was on her way to two solid top-ten finishes in the Alpine Europa Cup second round at Magny Cours, after gaining three positions in Race 1 to finish P6 - but an over-ambitious move by one of her competitors overshadowed an equally strong Race 2.
Gosia Rdest has historically enjoyed great results at Magny Cours, France, including her first ever podium in Alpine Europa Cup last year, where the Polish racer was third in race 1.
After a solid season opener in Nogaro on the Easter weekend a month ago, Rdest returned behind the wheel of the #3 Alpine A110 Cup GT4 for the second round of the 2022 season - her third year in the French one-make series. Rdest - who has also combined a partial campaign in W Series last year as a reserve driver, is now focusing her efforts in the Alpine Cup, where she scored good points at Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro with an eighth and ninth place finishes.
The championship's grid has grown considerably - as well as the competitive level of the field. Nevertheless, Rdest maintained a consistent position within the top-ten, also despite a few technical gremlins in Race 2 at Nogaro.
"I liked the Magny Cours circuit in 2020 when I went there for the first time, but last season I did better than I expected", commented Rdest before the race event. "I proved to myself and to others that I was able to be in the leading pack, that I could fight for the top positions, which definitely helped me in the following rounds."
"Now I am very encouraged that my teammates won both races in Nogaro, so if they did, why can't I? I hope that all the problems I had with the car have been solved and I will be on the podium again in Magny Cours."
At Magny Cours, hopes were high on the eve of the second round, but Thursday practice showed that the Chazel Technologie Course driver had to find some more speed, as she finished ninth and tenth.
Despite qualifying in ninth place for Race 1, Rdest had pace to charge back through the field and was the protagonist of a great first heat. Gosia was recording lap times consistent with the leading cars and she quickly moved up the order - gaining seventh place. A penalty for track limits demoted Thibaut Bossy to P11, after he received a drive through that was converted into a 30 second time penalty in the closing stages.
The steward's decision further promoted Gosia Rdest to sixth, thus gaining three places from her starting position and topping her best finish of the season to date.
Simon Tirman took victory for Autosport GP, finishing ahead of Paul Cauhaupé (Patrick Roger Autosport GP) and Lucas Frayssinet (Chazel Technologie Course).
The top three held positions from the start and pulled away, as they crossed the line over 12 seconds clear of the rest of the pack in a clean race with no Safety Car interventions.
The second day of racing, though, did not go according to plan for Rdest, whose challenging day started with a P12 in the second qualifying session.
Tirman, Cauhaupe and Frayssinet were back on top of the timing sheets and locked out once again the leading positions at the start.
After the lights went out, though, Gosia Rdest was on a mission and managed to climb to ninth after the first lap of the race. She would recover one more position soon after and caught up with a group of cars running close to each other.
Cauhaupe made a move stick at the Adelaide hairpin and took over the lead of the race with 15 minutes left on the clock, having made the most of the slipstream after the long Golf straight to pass Simon Tirman. Again Frayssinet followed the leading duo closely, looking for his chance to strike.
A Safety Car was deployed mid-way through the race and bunched up the pack once again when Bourgois went off at speed at Turn 1, beaching his #09 Chazel Technologie Cours Alpine in the gravel trap.
At the restart, Rdest held eighth place and was right in the gearbox of her teammate Edwin Traynard - also defending at the same time from Romain Brun.
After 13 laps, Paul Cauhaupe took the chequered flag and claimed his first win of the season - and his third podium in a row - ahead of Simon Tirman and Lucas Frayssinet.
Gosia Rdest was set to cross the finish line in yet another solid eighth position, when she was hit on the very last corner by Brun - who went for a gap that was not there and turned around the #3 Alpine driven by the Polish driver.
"There was a chance for a really good weekend", said Rdest. "Admittedly, qualifying could have gone better, but the points are for races and I did very well in those."
"First of all, both races were practically flawless in my performance", she continued. "There are a few things we need to work on, but there is generally reason to be pleased."
"It's just a pity that all of this has been overshadowed by the events of the last lap, or rather the last two corners. My colleague didn't even try to get through the chicane correctly, but well, it's said to be difficult" - commented a disappointed Rdest.
With a quick reaction, Gosia was soon facing again the right way, but the best she could do was a P14. Gosia is now sitting ninth in the championship standings, with 14 points.
Rookie Margaux Verza (Patrick Roger Autosport GP) scored her first points in the championship, finishing P19 and P21 respectively.
The Alpine Elf Europa Cup season will resume on 17-19 June at Zandvoort, Netherlands, but Gosia Rdest is expected to miss the third round to return behind the wheel of the Alpine A110 Cup at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, on 08-10 September.