Motorsport: Evans looks on the bright side

By Eric Thompson

Young GP2 driver's car proved its speed at Silverstone

Mitch Evans is at the Nurburgring this weekend and is confident of being in the points. Picture / GP2 Media
Mitch Evans is at the Nurburgring this weekend and is confident of being in the points. Picture / GP2 Media

New Zealand teenager Mitch Evans will be hoping the mechanical gremlins find someone else to bother this weekend at round six of the GP2 championship.

Evans was in fine fettle during practice last weekend at Silverstone, qualifying inside the top 10 and leading the first race until the pit lane speed sensor malfunctioned as he left the pits. After slotting into second place and closing in on leader Sam Bird, Evans was penalised for speeding in the pit lane.

"When I came back out from the pit stop, Bird was only 4.5 seconds down the road and I was catching him fast. Our car was very quick and, without the problem, we could have won," said Evans.

The 10 second stop-go penalty dropped him to 19th.

Evans had set the fastest lap of the race; more than two-and-half seconds faster than the best lap of race winner Bird. However, the bonus points for fastest lap require the driver to finish in the top 10.

Sunday's second race brought more electrical problems, causing Evans to be last away.

A sterling drive saw him pass nearly half the field to finish in 14th place and record the fastest lap of the race but, again, no cigar and the Aucklander slid to 10th on the points table.

This weekend, Evans is at the Nurburgring and confident he'll be in the points if the car is as quick as it was at Silverstone.

"There's not much of a breather between the two rounds but that's good," he says. "The only positive thing we can take from last weekend is that we have a fast car.

"I'm really happy with that and just hope it's the same this weekend, which I'm sure it will be."

The Silverstone and Nurburgring tracks are similar. Again, the Nurburgring will be demanding on tyres so managing them will be vital for the second weekend in a row. Evans knows the place well, having qualified fastest in 2011 when contesting the GP3 championship.

"There will be subtle tweaks that have to be done to the car but, to be honest, the tracks are quite similar. Our baseline set-up will be very similar to Silverstone and there will only be little adjustments to suit the track.

"It does also help that I've been to most of these circuits before but you've got to remember that it was in the GP3 car and not in the bigger, more powerful GP2 car. I hope I get more than just two qualifying laps, like I did at Silverstone, and get to start further up the grid," says Evans.

Tyre issues were the talk of last weekend's Formula One after four drivers' rear tyres exploded. The problem wasn't just contained to the F1 cars; Evans had his own moment during practice.

"Fortunately there was only one tyre that delaminated [in GP2] but it was on the car in front of me. A lot of debris came flying off...

"Safety is not only a problem for the drivers, it could also be dangerous for the spectators," said Evans.

As a result of the failures, Pirelli is burning the midnight oil to get something sorted for this weekend's German Grand Prix. Pirelli has reported it will rush through Kevlar-belted rear tyres for the teams to use. In an effort to stem the problem, teams will be banned from swapping right and left tyres around and limits will be put on the amount of camber permitted and how low the cars can run the tyre pressures.

It is hoped an all-new tyre will be ready for the Hungarian Grand Prix later this month that will feature a combination of the 2012 construction and the 2013 compounds. The new tyre will be tested at the young driver test at Silverstone on July 17-19.

- NZ Herald

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