F3 » 2 September 2013
Auto GP: Gremlins can’t stop impressive La Rocca
Venezuelan youngster scores more points on just his second outing in Auto GP
Roberto La Rocca overcame his lack of experience and a number of technical issues to impress again in the 2013 Auto GP World Series at Donington Park in the UK last weekend (August 31-September 1).
The Venezuelan pilot only made his debut in Auto GP last month at the Nurburgring in Germany (August 16-18), but was quickly on the pace and while he missed official practice on Saturday due to a failed relay, he was still eighth quickest in qualifying in his Comtec By Virtuosi-run car - his best lap a 1 minute 18.356 seconds.
On Sunday, however, the 22-year-old was unable to reap the rewards of qualifying in P8, and in race one had to start from the pit lane after his car wouldn't fire up in the collecting area. Zytec later confirmed that a new connector they had fitted had failed.
Roberto also had brake issues, but nevertheless still managed to bring it home in eleventh, only just missing out on a place inside the top-ten.
In the second race, the current US F2000 Champion continued to have brake problems, although he made up four places early on and was up to second before his mandatory pit stop. He then rejoined in seventh and held that position to the chequered flag, adding another four points to his tally.
“I don't think we ran a session this weekend without a problem. That made things difficult, as it was my first time at this circuit and it is not an easy one to learn. But still we made the best of things,” Roberto reflected.
“The first issue was in official practice,” he continued. “We had an electrical problem and unfortunately missed it completely. We were able to make it for qualifying, and had we made it out for official practice I am confident we would have been quicker.
“Then, before race one, we had another electrical problem, although this was due to a connector issue. Fortunately the guys at Zytec were able to sort out the problem in time for the start, they did a great job. We had to start from the pit lane, but at least we were able to go out there. We finished in P11 and for the second race we started in that position.
“We made up a couple of spots at the start in the second race and wound up seventh in the end. The pace was good as it wasn't far off the leaders and for sure, if we had started further up the field, we would have finished better.”
“Overall, we can be happy that we were able to finish both races, despite all the technical gremlins we had. We made the best out of a not so easy weekend and kept making progress. That's vital, especially given this was only my second weekend in Auto GP,” added the Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD)-affiliated youngster.
Roberto now has a bit of a break before heading to Brno in the Czech Republic early next month (October 5-6), for the final round in the 2013 Auto GP World Series.
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