A week after clinching his maiden GP3 Series victory, Ralph Boschung continued his tremendous recent form with a strong sixth-place finish at the third round of the 2016 season at Silverstone, UK (8-10 July).
Having taken P6 in Saturday’s opening race, the Swiss driver looked set to add fourth spot on Sunday, only to be denied by a time penalty on the final lap after late-race contact as he battled for position.
Boschung, 18, maintained his record of qualifying inside the top-10 at every round this year, starting Race One from ninth place – just a tenth of a second outside the top five – in a session that featured a rain shower and two red flags.
A great start enabled him to complete the opening lap in seventh place and he then went on to finish one spot higher after putting a superb move on Sandy Stuvik for sixth with a lap to go.
Rain on Sunday meant that Race Two began on a damp track, albeit with conditions good enough to enable every driver to start on slick tyres.
Boschung started third on the partially-reversed grid, but dropped to the tail end of the top 10 after his car went into ‘safe mode’ momentarily and denying him half of the usual power available as the lights went out.
In tricky conditions, the Champéry driver recovered brilliantly to climb to fifth place within sight of the finish; surviving being pushed off-track by rival Nyck de Vries (for which his rival was penalised) and making a number of inspired moves.
The unfortunate contact with Dennis came on the penultimate lap as Boschung attempted to overtake his British rival at Turn One on the slippery track surface.
Although he was able to avoid significant damage and finish fourth, Boschung was handed a 10 second time penalty for causing the collision, which dropped him to 12th in the final classification.
Boschung’s results have enabled him to climb one place to an impressive fifth place in the GP3 standings with three of the nine rounds completed.
“After taking victory in Austria, I came to Silverstone aiming to build on that,” said Boschung. “And I think we managed this quite successfully.
“The pace we had in qualifying and the races was strong, which is very pleasing and I have to thank the Koiranen GP team for their superb work and for making the atmosphere at weekends a real joy to be a part of.
“With Jake, the incident was millimetres from not happening. It was my fault and I apologised to him after the race.
“It seems pretty clear that there is one team that is still a step ahead of the rest, but we have very good momentum now and I’m convinced we can reduce the gap – starting with the next event at the Hungaroring.
“As usual, I would like to extend a warm thanks to the Valais-based building company CP3, Moderntimes Hotel, Platinum Fighter Sales from Los Angeles and my new sponsor PARC. Finally, I’m extremely grateful to the members of 'Club 50' for their unwavering support and loyalty.”
The fourth round of the 2016 GP3 Series takes place at the Hungaroring in support of the Hungarian Grand Prix on 22-24 July.