Auto GP: Varhaug, In Valencia to keep momentum
At just 21, but with a curriculum that already includes a full season in GP2, Pål Varhaug boasted an impressive Auto GP World Series debut in Monza. After being hampered by some technical glitches in the Free Practices, the Norwegian started recovering right from the Qualifying, then entering an improving mood that led him and his team, Virtuosi UK, to a P2 finish in Race 1 and to a great win on Sunday. Here is how Pål lived his first Auto GP World Series weekend:“I was coming from a good and consistent run in the official test, so I knew that we could be competitive straight out of the box, but then on Friday the Free Practices didn’t go as expected. We had some issues that prevented us from getting the expected mileage and so we arrived at Quali still as an unknown quantity. Luckily the team worked hard to solve the glitches and everything went fine there, allowing me a second row start that didn’t seem too bad, even if I’m sure that in normal conditions we could have been quicker that that”.And then came the races…“As I said, our potential was better than what we could show on Friday, and Race 1 clearly proved that. Even if my start was ruined a bit by Sirotkin stalling right in front of me, I was third after the first corner and up to the mandatory pit-stop my pace was better than Campana’s. I could even have challenged Quaife-Hobbs for the win, but we lost some time with the left rear in the pits, and then when I was back on track I struggled to get temperature into the tyres. Anyway it was a good race, and it gave me an even stronger feeling that there was more to come”.And there surely was, as you won Race 2 starting from P7! How was it from the cockpit?“It was a very fun race, my mind set was just ‘getting the tow, catching, overtaking’, all the time. What I love about racing is… racing, and concerning that Race 2 gave me plenty of excitement! Monza has some good spots where you can pass and I made the most of them: I started from seventh place but by the time of the mandatory pit-stop I was already second. Then, the team made a really lightning-quick tyre change and managed to send me back on track ahead of Van der Drift, and from them on my pace was quick enough to start building a gap. We were the quickest car on track, no doubt about it, and I feel that considering how much we all pushed to get the result, this win was really deserved”.This means that you are heading to Valencia leading the standings, tied on points with Quaife-Hobbs. What will be your aim on the Spanish track?“Well, after such a start keeping momentum is the best I can ask. We managed to be quick even in a weekend with some odds to overcome, so I’m sure that we will do even better in a clean weekend. Valencia is a very different track from Monza but the team has all it takes to give me a good car and I’m sure that with more mileage under the belt my feeling with the Lola will also keep improving. The important part is that I already like the car, it feels different from the GP2 I’m coming from but it’s very playable, you can really drive it with your right foot and that means that it’s a lot of fun!”.