The team scored two points on the first round of the season. The overall pace and feeling proved, however, that better results are obtainable.
The 2021 Formula 4 Spanish Championship season is already started. The legendary Spa-Francorchamps Circuit hosted the season opener, held alongside WEC’s Spa 6 Hours. GRS Team faced the beginning of its third Formula 4 full season with a positive outcome at the Belgian track.
Both the team and the driver, Vladislav Ryabov, had already drove around Spa during collective pre-season testing, which happened back in March. The event started on Thursday with Free Practice and Qualifying session. The day was conditioned by cold weather and changing conditions. Ryabov, however, managed to do competitive laps on both practice sessions, temporarily sitting in top positions.
Qualifying was chaotic because of the traffic, making it difficult for all drivers to complete clean laps. Ryabov claimed 16th position on the grid for Race 1. His second-best lap in QP1 put him on 10th place for the short race, which was Race 3 on this round. On the second qualifying session, the Russian driver set an excellent lap time to start Race 2 from 5th on the grid.
Friday did not go as planned. Before starting Race 1, an issue to start the car in formation lap forced Ryabov to launch from last on the grid. On his first ever single-seater race, his performance was great during the first half of the race. He gained positions and reached 16th place. He held that position for several laps and eventually finished the race in 19th place.
Race 2 was supposed to be the team’s best opportunity of a good result. Ryabov started fifth and stayed in top positions after the first braking zone. Shortly after, in Les Combes corner, he was hit and spun by another driver. Ryabov dropped to last and had to pit. The damage on the car, unluckily, was significant enough to retire the car.
Despite a difficult day, the team had one last chance to shine on Saturday. Ryabov had an impeccable race start and saw himself up in sixth from tenth on the grid. The race was heavily affected by long Safety Car periods and Ryabov saw the chequered flag in eight position. This result would, however, become seventh place after one of the drivers that crossed the line ahead was penalised.
The team wraps up Round 1 with 2 points on the standings and good sensations ahead of the reminder of the season. The driver improves session after session, lap after lap. The pace shows that the team and driver are capable to improve the results in the upcoming rounds. We are on the right direction, convinced that consistent work and better luck will lead GRS Team to better results.
Formula 4 Spanish Championship will return on May 29-30. The season’s second round will be held in Navarra Circuit. The series comes back to Spain and the round will be part of the ‘Racing Weekend’ event. That will be a special event for GRS Team, who made its racing debut there and has stepped on the podium every year.