Ralph Boschung’s remarkably consistent debut GP3 Series campaign continued at historic Monza this weekend courtesy of ninth and seventh place finishes.
Both results owed everything to a storming recovery drive in the opening encounter on Saturday after the 17-year-old failed to set a time during the morning’s qualifying session due to the same engine issue that he’d experienced at Spa-Francorchamps last time out. He’d then follow that up with a mature run to a second points-paying finish on Sunday by avoiding the incidents of others.
Such results looked unlikely on Saturday afternoon, however, when Ralph lined up 21st and last for the 22-lap Feature Race. But an electric start had helped him vault seven places by the time the field exited the first chicane, before completing a storming opening lap in 11th place.
Such was his pace that the JENZER MOTORSPORT youngster was soon challenging Seb Morris for eighth, which would have given him reverse grid pole position for the weekend’s second race. Their battle came to a head at Parabolica though when the pair’s squabble resulted in Boschung dropping out of the top-10.
Nevertheless, his hard work was rewarded post-race when penalties for Matt Parry and Morris (both for being underweight) ensured Ralph’s points-scoring run continued by being promoted to ninth in the final classification.
The Swiss teenager thus started Sunday morning’s 16-lap affair from just inside the top-10. But a repeat of Saturday’s heroics always looked unlikely, especially given the opportunities for slipstreaming around Monza’s high-speed layout.
Indeed, Boschung spent much of the race yo-yoing around the outer reaches of the top-10 before a couple of passing moves and accident ahead helped him finish seventh.
Scoring four points from what started as a difficult weekend in Italy would have been enough for most rookies, but Ralph still felt disappointed not to have finished better in Race 1 despite battling back from a lowly grid slot.
“It was really good to maintain our recent momentum against such a tough group of drivers, especially after what happened in qualifying, but I still think we missed out on even more points,” he later confirmed. “We were really unlucky on Saturday morning but I knew we had top-10 pace so always hoped to come through. Obviously the start helped and I was really happy to get through the first chicane without any contact. That first lap was amazing and set me up for a really good result, so I was frustrated to miss out on the reverse grid pole.
“It’s difficult to get away from other cars at Monza so picking up a couple of places today and avoiding issues was a good effort. It was probably the maximum we could have achieved after the way the race panned out. The car worked well and JENZER MOTORSPORT once again delivered the goods.
“I’m delighted to be 10th in the standings at this stage of my first GP3 season, but I wouldn’t be here without the help of B63 or Valais-based construction company CP3, Champery-based Avanthay&Partners real estate and Moderntimes Hotel. The ‘Club 50’ members have also been fantastic.”
Boschung will be hoping to continue his strong season when the 2015 GP3 Series campaign moves on to Sochi Autodrom in Russia on October 9-11.