Podium for Pineapple in Valencia!
Posted in Race Reports
Podium for Pineapple in Valencia!
Oliver Wright takes 3rd place in Mini, Dimitrov and McLean both in top 7 in Junior X30 Winter Cup
Date 11th February 2018
Event Iame Winter Cup
Track Lucas Guerrero Circuit
The annual Iame Winter Cup took place at the superb Lucas Guerrero Circuit near Valencia, Spain on 11th February 2018
The Fusion protagonists included 1 driver in Senior X30 (Rufus Hunt), 3 in Junior (Georgi Dimitrov, Josh Mclean and Max Mayer) and 1 in Mini (Oliver ‘Pineapple’ Wright).
During testing all 3 Juniors showed good pace with ‘local boy’ Max Mayer looking like one of the fastest on Thursday. Georgi had a couple of poor sessions with an engine issues but once resolved looked to have good pace whilst Josh looked very strong for his first visit to the track. Rufus struggled to get to grips with parts of the track and the step up to Senior but made steady progress throughout the day whilst Oliver also had a lot of learning to do but showed flashes of impressive speed.
In Qualifying on Friday the team elected to send Georgi and Max off the front of the field to start some clear laps in. The plan was to get the pair to push each other around but Max was delayed out of the pits so both ended up without the full benefit of working together and were placed 9th and 10th in group respectively whilst Josh ended up 14th in his group after missing out on a tow. Pineapple ended up P10 in Mini.
On Saturday’s Heats Georgi showed his true form, from the outside of row 4 he pulled of 3 stunning starts which would earn him two 2nd and a 1st with some fantastic racing, he would qualify 3rd for the Pre Final. Josh and Max suffered mixed fortunes in their heats but both still looked fast and would be classified 20th and 23rd respectively in the intermediate classification.
Pineapple had 3 top 10 results but a nose cone penalty in heat 1 saw him qualify 10th for the pre final whilst Rufus has a day to forget and he found himself in the Komet Cup conciliation Race after 3 disappointing heats.
In the Junior Pre Final Georgi battled hard at the front but in the end had to settle for 3rd behind Spain’s Mari Boya and Alex Lloyd (DHR), citing a lack of engine power. Josh worked his way through to a creditable 12th whilst Max had a disappointing start and then suffered a nose cone penalty, which would mean he would start the final last.
Rufus crashed out of the Komet Cup, leaving little to show for his improved pace and Pineapple drove into the barriers on the pit lane entry, dropping his nose cone and turning his 9th place result into 13th on the grid for the Final.
On to the Final and the Mini race was a thriller, with Pineapple featuring more prominently as he finally put his impressive pace into practice. After a strong start he forced his way though to 6th where he found himself on his own. He put his head down and caught 5th position but that driver didn’t want to give up without a fight and the pair were caught. On the penultimate lap the young Fusion driver dropped to 7th but with a neat cut back he reclaimed 5th at the flag which ended up in a popular podium as the 2 drivers that finished ahead of him received a penalty. A truly fantastic result for his first race out of the UK and out of cadets.
All eyes turned to the Junior race as Georgi aimed to bring home another podium and hopefully a win for the team. After lap one however it was clear that the engine issues that he had suffered in the Pre Final had not been resolved and had to battle to hold on to 2nd. As Boya escaped at the front Georgi and Lloyd were caught by Shields and Georgi eventually fell to 4th, a disappointing result after such promise in the heats. Meanwhile Josh was enjoying a great drive and would end up a very creditable 7th for his first Junior race and first European event. Max raced better and climbed to 23rd in the Final, somewhat disappointing after his pace earlier in the weekend but much learned in his first race at this level.