Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing managed to score more championship points despite a tough and challenging weekend at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit. The team came away with points in both races, with Pepe Oriola taking P9 in race one and James Nash P8 in race two after some hard fought battles.
After a very grueling qualifying session, the trio had to work hard to fight for every point possible and did well to overcome their starting positions, with James Nash moving up five places from P16 in race one, followed by Hugo Valente who scored P15 after starting in P23.
“Race one was fun,” said a happy Valente. “Starting from P24 I couldn’t expect much but at least I had some fun on track. With the pace we had, we could have been fighting with the guys in front but that’s the issue when you run into some technical problems in qualifying.”
“I had a great start in race two, taking five positions up to the first corner and then I got hit. I strongly believe we could have scored a point or at least get close to it. It’s just a shame that things like this happen, qualified drivers are welcome to our championship for sure, but when you’re three seconds off the pace all weekend and totally miss your braking point to then hit drivers that are fighting hard for points all season long it is just a bit frustrating.”
Race two was looking very positive with Oriola lining up from P2 on the front row, but he was forcefully hit from behind and later retired from the race. Hugo Valente suffered the same fate after a good start that saw him take multiple positions.
Pepe Oriola: “It was a really disappointing weekend after the bad luck in race two because I really thought that race two could be a win for us. I think I could have passed the lead driver and created some distance after the first lap but unfortunately Tom Coronel hit me really hard in the rear and I couldn’t keep going. We need to work hard in Monza and focus on scoring some good points to get back into the championship.”
He was careened into by another competitor, causing catastrophic damage that instantly ruled him out of the competition. Nash avoided the carnage and did a stellar job to fight his way up the order to finish in the points in P8. Pepe Oriola is now sixth in the championship with 47 points, followed by Hugo Valente in P8 with 38 points and then James Nash in P9, also with 38 points.
The team is hard at work repairing the cars and is looking towards Monza to make a championship comeback next weekend.33