Selected Driver and Team Manager Interviews after Round 5 at Montreal, Canada.
After another exciting weekend ACE driver Pashalis Gergis took a walk around the paddock to get the interviews from the stars of the last race which was held in Montreal, Canada! Let's find out what they had to say!
Jernej Simoncic (Ghostspeed Racing)
First-off we headed to Jernej Simoncic, finally the Ghostspeed duo looked really strong and we are sure they will look to build on that for the next races!
Hey Jernej and congratulations for your P2 in Canada! Tell us about your race, your different approach to the race and the 3-stop strategy almost worked and even though you didn’t win the race, you came up with a very solid 2nd place!
- Thanks! Well, my race was quite straightforward; somehow I got p3 and when I saw I could keep with Dian and Petar I knew podium was waiting for me. 3-stop strategy was the only option as I'd get into traffic if I stopped earlier each stint, as it happened to Dian. Then I just drove, conserving the tires and hoping I wouldn't crash at the final chicane. The final chicane was also the reason I lost the lead, I still don't know how to take the kerbs properly... Anyway, amazing feeling when crossing the line in second place; I'm really happy for the team, well deserved result for us!
As I had previously mentioned in an older interview where I had a talk with Jonny Simon, it looked like bad luck had striked in both of you in the first races, what was different in Canada this time?
- The biggest difference for me was that I've now got T300RS clamped to the desk instead of my old DFGT. In Sepang and Bahrain I was on for some good points but I spun both times; now I can feel and correct the slides earler and much more efficiently. Apart from that, I didn't get crahsed off in t1, I didn't get stuck in traffic and I like Montreal. The tilkedromes at the start of the season tend to kill me.
What are your thoughts heading into the first half of the season? I’m sure the target for you and Jonny to move up both driver and constructors championships, isn’t it?
- We haven't really set a specific target, we will take it race by race and do our best. But well, I quite like the idea of Jonny and me doing some 1-2 finishes.
Finally, the RedBull Ring (aka A1 Ring) makes its appearance in the calendar after more than a decade, is that a track you enjoy driving at?
- I consider A1 Ring my home track, less than 3h away by car, and it's fantastic venue. The corners on the track that we use only slightly resemble the real track so it will be more about tackling bumps and high kerbs than actually enjoying the flow, but I will enjoy it anyway.
Petar Brljak (Twister 2Fast4You)
The next driver we interviewed was Petar Brljak, Petar, once again showed amazing form and he managed not only to overtake Dian Kostadinov in the early parts of the race, but Jernej Simoncic aswell who was on a 3-stop strategy. He looks really unstoppable lately!
Once again, you had a very quick time in the qualifying session, however your teammates looked a bit off, with Muhammed having P8, Jim crashing in the wall of champions and David Greco not making into Q1. What went wrong with them?
- They just made big mistakes in their lap, maybe it was a bit of nerves, which is mostly the reason for a bad lap in Q2. My lap was kind of average until I lost pole in the last chicane.
Take us through your race, after having to overcome Kostadinov, you had Jernej Simoncic, his 3-stop strategy almost worked for him and go him the win but you managed to overtake him in T1. What was the plan in the last third of the race when you noticed he was going to finish without making any more stops?
- Had to work hard for this one, after getting in the lead, I realized the car was quite a lot worse than in practice, I had several big moments with locking rears and quite poor rear grip so I couldn't push except for the first 2-3 laps on fresh tires. After the first stop I got held up behind Muhammed and Kuba and once I saw Jernej pitting, I knew I could come out behind him in the last stint as the car lacked some pace. I had a very scary moment a lap before my final stop when I went over someone's front wing on the exit of the last chicane which launched me in the wall but fortunately I only got minor damage. When I caught Jernej, with much higher wings I had to outbrake him somewhere because the straights were useless for me and it came with a good move in T1. Props to him for giving just enough room.
With Jim Parisis having an eventful race you have a 1-win lead from him. Any thoughts on what you should keep doing in order to maintain this gap to Jim?
- Yep, he had a bad race which helps me a bit, but in a normal qualifying he would be very close so I gotta keep up with good performances. Bad qualifying usually hinders you more in race conditions, so I'll try staying consistent.
Blair Disley (Ghostspeed Engineering)
Another driver that we wanted to interview since the first races was an FSR veteran, Blair Disley, who looks like he is having a great year in 2015, managing to get points for his team regularly.
After having a very good qualifying you got your first top-5 finish this year? How was your race? You had to make some very exciting on-track overtakes to earn that spot!
- Very good result for me, especially in recent years. As seen on the broadcast, I lost about 5seconds and some positions when I made a mistake exiting the pits. Otherwise was able to make some passes. Was tempting to stay out and not make the final pitstop, but after Malaysia and China races where I got the tyre wear wrong, really really wrong, I decided to not risk that a third time.
Its the 3rd time you score points this season after having finished only 1 time in the top-10 last season. What changed since then, have you changed your approach?
- I think this season I have a base setup that suits me more, or maybe the mod suits my driving style more. I think its one of Jeroens setups that works good for me.
Being one of the most experienced veterans in FSR, what is your influence in Ghostspeed? Do you have the role of the mentor there?
- Maybe a little bit of mentoring, but more so just driving experience and testing failures experience, that sort of thing.
Before finishing I'd like to ask your view on the current position you are in the standings, is that the focus to finish around the points or do you feel you can get something more in the next races?
- I think points in most of the remaining races is a realistic goal, maybe a couple of top 5s. Definitley happy to be closer on pace compared to last season, much much closer. No doubts about that.
Driver & Team Principal Interview
Dian Kostadinov (Eventa Simracing)
Last but not least, was Dian Kostadinov who was asked not only about his WC perfomances but for his own team, as he owns Eventa Simracing! His interview was rather interesting so let's jump in and see his thoughts!
Your pole lap was a great lap to watch, did you see yourself getting such a good qualifying result?
- I was little bit sirprised from myself when I did that lap, in area where I almost everytime fail. That was a good lap, but still 0.3 slower than my personal best from practice. After I set that time, I knew that maybe 1 or 2 drivers could beat it.
You had a solid chance to get the win from Petar in the first parts of the race, however after you stuck in the traffic during the pit stops, you looked all over the place and had some incidents. What happened there?
- Yes, the win was quite possible until 2nd pit stop. My first stint was very nice, I was able to keep Petar's pace, even sometime I was faster. But in the 2nd stint after couple of laps got slight oversteer and my pace dropped. In the end of the stint I knew will get out in traffic, but unfortunately after my lost time during the stint I had no choice to change anything. I did mistake and tried to overtake all cars between me and Petar as soon as possible and made mistake, where in one of my attempt to pass Simon, I misjudged the situation and closed the door, before finishing the overtake. I spun and my rear tires were gone, giving me annoying vibrations and I had to deal with it in the next 10 laps.
Any thoughts following this weekend in Austria Circuit? Is tihs a track we should expect a solid result from Eventa?
- For this race I'm not prepared very well, I was abroad untill Tuesday and I have 4 days to make some solid setup and to try to strenghten my pace from Canada. But I stay realist and I know that will be very very difficult task.
How has the season been for you guys in World Championship? You look like a great duo with Fransesco in the top division.
- When I look the constructors championship and see Eventa Simracing on 4th place, there is no way this would make me to be disappointed. Francesco is doing a great season after bad for him first 2 starts, I'm not very happy from my results, the only thing that satisfies me, we both with Biga have very strong pace and maybe we are the team closest to Twisters and endangering their leadership.
Coming down to ACE, obviously Partington and Hodas has been the line up to watch with both of them having podium and solid results in the first races. However we've seen the Italian Pescara team doing well. Your 3rd team though with Aalberts and Lepalla could have been better. Actually Ville hasn't appeared in many races has he? What are the targets for your teams in ACE? Any thoughts?
- To be honest I'm very surprised from Mike and Martin, didn't expect such a great effort and results. They both are showing great performance in practice and I believe they are ready to fight for points if I let them in World Championship. Second position is our target for Ace. Italian Pescara also shows good results, they don't test as much as Mike and Martin but still get the maximum from every race where they participate. In Canada Francesconi started from back of the grid and finished 8th I think, which is a very good performance. Our 3rd team I knew that won't be competetive in most of the races, Ville is written as official driver, but he is not driving, Victor should be back soon, so again we will have 2 drivers, which are able to steal good points and to climb up in the standing.
How hard is it to communicate with those many drivers your team has? Apart from WC/ACE there is also your PRO crews which surely need the attention of the whole team to bring home some good results in the lowest division.
- I thought will be a difficult task for me to managing so many drivers and teams, but I'm lucky that I have these guys, they all know what to do, no need to tell them every day to test or to take rest, or how to drive, they all are very experienced and know very good what is our target in the end of the season, so after that, to be proud of ourself. I haven't been planned to do Pro team, Eros asked me for that, I didn't have any problem for that.
Have you been satisfied with the team in overall? Has there been any area you would like to improve and get closer to teams like Twister?
- Overall I'm very happy, only for 4 races we beated the result from last year. Already we have 1 Pole Position and 1 Podium, which are the first in WC for Eventa, step by step I will try to make Eventa where I want to see - on the top.
We hope you enjoyed those interviews as any we've done this season! We'll see you in Austria in a few hours!
*Thanks to all the FSR Media Group (Alessio Campus, David O'Reilly) for their assistance once again.