Following the promising overnight results in bright, dry conditions on Saturday’s race day (read more here), Sunday’s racing demanded a change to wet tires from the word go. While race pace and performance continued on a high, the GCK team missed out on the top results due to a series of unfortunate events. Here’s the story of our Sunday in Riga:
ANTON MARKLUND – P4 SEMI-FINAL
Q3 P3; Q4 P7
In Q3, Marklund pushed ahead to race into the first corner in 2nd behind Timerzyanov; he jokered in the first lap and finished in 3rd.
Q4 saw Marklund jumpstart earning him a 2nd joker lap. He jokered on the first lap and 3rd lap, putting him in traffic behind Doran until he overtook the Brit in turn 1 of lap 4 to finish in 4th.
“We still struggle a little throughout the qualifiers finding the perfect set-up but the team did a great job in giving me a fast car and we proved this pace in changing conditions. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I could do in the semi from the position I was put in, that’s the way it is sometimes and we’ll put the pressure on in South Africa.”
ROKAS BACIUSKA – P5 SEMI-FINAL
Q3 P2; Q4 P3
Following a delayed start, Rokas followed GCK team mate Marklund into the joker on the first lap. He continued in slippery conditions to come out alongside Gronholm as the Finn jokered to finish the race in 5th.
In Q4, Baciuska followed De Ridder into turn 1, continuing to push for faster pace until De Ridder took the joker on the last lap, where Rokas then charged ahead into 1st, taking the chequered flag.
“What a weekend. It was incredible to meet and race in front of so many fans, and the support really means so much – I raced my heart out and we really put down some great pace – we definitely had enough for the podium. The mess in the semi-final is unfortunate but was acknowledged and dealt with and we move on from here.”
Rokas and Anton made it into the first semi-final, but disaster struck in turn 1 as contact from the inside of the pack caused carnage. Marklund and Baciuska ended up getting spun around into the gravel, pushing Marklund into 4th and Baciuska into 6th. Both Anton and Rokas jokered on the 1st lap, and while Anton continued the fight to cross the finish line in 4th just 3/10ths of a second behind Doran, renewed contact by Scheider resulted in a rear right puncture for Baciuska, causing him to limp home in 6th with considerable time lost. Scheider is later penalised for the move putting Baciuska into P5.
GUERLAIN CHICHERIT – P15 O/A
Q3 P3; Q4 P10
Guerlain received early morning news of having been disqualified from Q2 for touching his launch button during the race, pushing him down into P18 overall.
In Q3, Chicherit held his line through contact into the first corner to come out in 2nd. He jokered on the last lap to finish 2nd with the 3rd fastest time.
Q4 saw Guerlain struggle with a slow start. He jokered on the first lap and finished in 5th, pushing him up to P15 overall but still dropping him out of the semi-finals.
“For sure I’m disappointed – our pace was absolutely there and losing out on a top spot due to a mistake in Q2 was like a kick in the teeth, especially as our speed in the following races in the rain was super competitive also. Both Anton and Rokas deserved spots in the final as well, so it’s been a frustrating weekend for GCK but we know we are well capable of fighting for the top podium spots and will come back for more.”
CYRIL RAYMOND – P13 O/A
Q3 P9; Q4 P17
In Q3, Raymond determinedly pushed ahead following the start to race into turn 1 in 2nd ahead of Hansen and behind Nitiss. He jokered in lap 2 coming out ahead of Hansen to finish in 3rd.
Q4 saw Raymond in P3 into the first corner, following Timerzyanov and Hansen to joker in the last lap finishing the race in 3rd. Following the race, Raymond received a 5sec penalty for crossing track markers, pushing him into P13 and costing him his semi-final spot.
“I’m happy with the Clio’s pace and consistency this weekend, we put down a competitive race performance and the team worked really well. Missing out on a spot in the semi-final due to the penalty is upsetting but we will make sure we come back stronger. “
GUILLAUME DE RIDDER – P14 O/A
Q3 P13; Q4 P11
De Ridder raced into turn 1 of Q3 in 4th, from where he jokered straight away, catching up with the rest of the pack. Overtaking Pal Try in lap 3, he pushed ahead to finish in 3rd.
Q4 saw De Ridder put down a good start and battle into turn 1 in 2nd, overtaking Doran into turn 2 to charge ahead in the lead. He jokered on lap 3, coming out ahead of Gronholm but was overtaken on the straight to finish in P3.
“It was a very positive weekend overall as it was my first time here in Latvia, and I improved my lap times both in wet and dry conditions. My times were relatively good compared to gaps we’ve had at previous races, and the work done on the launch strategies have clearly paid off! I think we had the speed to be in the semis, and it’s very encouraging for the last round in Cape Town.”