Elf Marc VDS Racing Team off to positive start at revised Red Bull Ring
A top five for Tony Arbolino and impressive progress made by World Championship debutant Senna Agius completed an excellent first day for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team in Austria today.
- Tackling Spielberg’s tight new double apex chicane for the first time, Arbolino was only 0.043s outside of the top three, while Agius passed the tough test of learning the 4.34km track with flying colours.
- The fight for Q2 places in FP3 will get underway at 1055am local time tomorrow morning in advance of Sunday’s 25-lap race.
/// TONY ARBOLINO, 4th, 1:34.707, 34 laps
- The Italian wasted little time in adapting to the new chicane by finishing FP1 this morning with a lap time of 1:35.596 that placed him in a competitive 11th, which was just over 0.2s away from the top six.
- With track temperature rising to 29 degrees this afternoon, the extra temperature and improved grip levels helped Arbolino climb to fourth place on the combined standings while he worked on improving front feeling, turning and braking performance.
“This is the best I’ve felt on the bike for some time”
“Today was a positive and interesting day because we got the first opportunity to try the new layout here in Austria. I really like the new chicane. It isn’t so easy to adapt to it but it is a good challenge and I enjoyed it. The grip there is good and I think the track did an amazing job. I also feel like we have found something better with my feeling on the bike after some good meetings with my crew. We’d kind of lost our way a little but today I felt strong again both in terms of braking confidence on the front and my feeling with the rear under acceleration. Today I could push how I need to and I want to thank my crew because they did a fantastic job supporting me and giving me what I need with the set-up of the bike. This is the best I’ve felt for some time and I’m happy with the lap time and I feel competitive. The good thing is I am convinced we have a lot of room to improve and I’m confident we can achieve a good result on Sunday.”
/// SENNA AGIUS: 29th, 1:36.575, 36 laps
- Agius delivered a mature and composed performance on his first day replacing injured Sam Lowes, as he gained priceless experience completing 36 laps of the undulating Red Bull Ring.
- Agius improved by the huge margin of nearly 2.3s this afternoon and at the end of a confidence-inspiring display, the Australian teenager finished 29th on the combined classification.
“With the help of this great team we made really good progress”
“I can’t deny that this morning was a little bit nerve-wracking because competing in a Grand Prix weekend is the dream of any rider. I felt a lot less nerves this afternoon and I felt like I normally would which allowed me to have a lot of fun riding the bike. There is so much to learn and work on but with the help of this great team I made really good progress throughout the day. Learning a new track is never easy but I’m just trying to remain calm. You need to be calm to go fast and it’s finding that balance, but step-by-step I’m feeling more comfortable. I’m here to learn and to test myself against the best in the world and I think if we can continue making the progress we did today I can be in a really good spot for Sunday’s race.”