24 March 2015
GP3: Estoril pacesetter Boschung did not expect top ten
GP3 Series debutant Ralph Boschung may only be 17, but he is already wise enough to know that testing times do not always predict race fortunes.
Ralph Boschung's maiden GP3 Series campaign got off to a flying start at Estoril last week, but the Jenzer Motorsport driver admits that he did not anticipate being quite so close to the top of the timesheets.
The young Swiss ace ended all four timed sessions in the top ten, and clocked the fastest time in the first official two-day pre-season test, a performance all the more notable considering the strength of a field that includes reigning FIA European F3 title-holder Esteban Ocon, Ferrari protégé Antonio Fuoco and Marvin Kirchhöfer who finished third in the 2014 GP3 standings.
Despite that, Boschung looked very much in control at the former Portuguese Grand Prix venue, achieving everything he and the team set out to over both days of testing and showing an excellent level of preparation and maturity despite having not driven since last November's GP3 post-season tests in Abu Dhabi.
“Everything went really smoothly over both days of testing and we ticked all the necessary boxes,” the 17-year old reported, “With six hours of track time every day, we had the opportunity to do race simulations as well as qualifying runs but, honestly, I did not expect to be in the top ten straight away given the extremely high calibre of drivers in the championship. It is, of course, hugely satisfying to set the fastest time and I think our performance acted as motivation for the entire team.
Boschung graduates from ADAC Formel Masters, where he was a regular podium visitor, and insists that his testing performance will not see him get carried away.
“I am well aware that this is only testing, which is often not representative of realistic lap times, particularly in a championship as competitive as GP3,” he acknowledged, “That said, our consistent progress throughout the test made it all the more rewarding. It's now up to us to keep working hard and continue in the right direction.”
“Last year was a bit of a wake-up call and has definitely helped me to stay grounded. I really want to give it my best shot and see how we get on, without setting too many specific targets.”
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