Promising weekend for Corinna Gostner at Spielberg
Despite not having the results to show for it, Corinna Gostner made significant progress during the course of the Ferrari Challenge weekend at Red Bull Ring: in tricky conditions, she had top-ten pace and was in position to collect her best finish of the season.
Corinna Gostner’s return to Ferrari Challenge Europe was filled with promise without the results to match at the Red Bull Ring. Gostner showed excellent speed during the course of the weekend and enjoyed a number of battles in the Coppa Shell class, with a best result of 13th not indicative of the pace she displayed. Conditions were challenging throughout the weekend, but Corinna can still take away a number of positives following the two races.
Friday’s test sessions and free practice served as important track time for Corinna since she missed the last round of the championship at Misano. Completing 26 laps in the first test session, Gostner finished 14th in the Coppa Shell class. Corinna made significant improvements in throughout the day, placing 13th in the second session, before finishing free practice in 11th. Regaining familiarity with the Ferrari 488 Challenge car, Corinna made over two seconds of lap time improvements over the course of the three sessions.
Drivers faced cold and dry conditions for Saturday morning’s first qualifying session, similar to those in testing, with Corinna looking to build upon her promising start to the weekend. Gostner once again found considerable time improvements, with her best qualifying lap of 1:32.759 half a second quicker than her testing benchmark. This time was good enough for 13th in Coppa Shell, with Corinna’s first sector time among the best in the field, providing further encouragement ahead of the opening race.
Race one of the weekend begun behind the safety car following a heavy rain shower prior to the start, with a penalty for a competitor meaning Corinna lined up twelfth in the Coppa Shell class. Gostner held her position in the opening stages while gaining familiarity with the difficult conditions. By lap five, she had made her way into 11th and after setting the fastest first sector of the race on lap seven, she set about chasing John Dhillon ahead of her.
After a close battle with Ingvar Mattsson on lap 12, the Swedish driver made his way past with Corinna dropping to 12th in Coppa Shell. On the final lap of the race, Gostner once again set the fastest first sector, before a spin in the closing stages resulted in a 13th place finish in Coppa Shell.
Sunday morning’s qualifying session was also held in wet conditions, providing a further challenge for the drivers. The session was interrupted by two red flags, with Corinna bringing out the first with a spin, however she was able to re-join and complete the session. Building up her confidence through the 20 minute session, Gostner ended qualifying with the 14th fastest time in Coppa Shell, setting her fastest lap on the final lap in the session, highlighting her potential to move forward during the race.
Race two of the weekend was held in similarly challenging conditions, with rain falling prior to the start of the race on an already wet track. As a result, the race begun behind the safety car with Corinna lining up 12th due to penalties for competitors ahead of her.
Gostner made an encouraging start and overtook Ingvar Mattsson on the first green flag lap to move into 11th. Corinna kept in touch with the cars ahead and this paid dividends when a spin for Thomas Gostner on lap six allowed Corinna to move inside the top-10. Showing great improvements from the opening race of the weekend, Gostner was catching John Dhillon for ninth position at the halfway point.
On lap nine, Corinna spun into the gravel from tenth position which ended her race prematurely, an unfortunate end to a very promising race to that point.
Despite not having the results to show for it, Corinna should be encouraged by her significant progress during the course of the weekend. In tricky conditions, she continued to bridge the gap to her rivals in the Coppa Shell class and was in position to collect her best finish of the season. Gostner will look to build upon the speed she displayed and take these positives to the next round of Ferrari Challenge Europe.