As the stakes were raised on the second day of the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games, Team Australia was forced to fight hard on a mixed Saturday of action at Circuit Paul Ricard.
The green and gold was seen across six separate disciplines, with two fighting for medals.
Young Aussie Formula 4 hope Costa Toparis had his fare share of dramas on Saturday, but still managed to show his fighting abilities.
Toparis started 10th in the qualifying race, but was caught up in a first lap incident, which caused his front wing to go missing.
Despite the significant damage and aero disadvantage, the teenager still showed strong pace, racing as high as seventh.
However, the damage eventually took its toll and had a significant impact on Toparis’ pace towards the end as he dropped back to 12th.
To make matters worse, Toparis was handed two post-race penalties for on track incidents, which means he will start tonight’s main race from P19.
Toparis said he learnt a lot from the battling afternoon in the hot seat.
“It was a hard race that’s for sure and from lap one we had a bit of contact,” he said.
“We lost a bit of front wing so that put us back and lost all balance for the car. We got up to P7 or P8 but after that it just became too hard to come forward with the broken wing.
“I believe our pace isn’t that bad, even it’s probably good compared to the guys in front of us.”
Esports representative Philippa Boquida enjoyed a more cleaner stint behind the wheel and fell narrowly short of a medal.
Boquida had shown strong pace all weekend and qualified sixth, before gaining ground in the race.
She made her way through the field and was closing in on the podium, but fell five seconds short after the hour long race.
Boquida admitted it was tough be so near, yet so far from collecting Australia’s first medal at the global games.
“I’m a little bit gutted that I couldn’t get to the podium,” Boquida said.
“I had three track limit warnings for about half the race, so I had to back off and relax for a large part of the race.
“There were some positives to it and there are still a few things I would work on but overall it went well.”
Brenton and Stephen Grove completed their GT Cup campaign and finished up in P7 after a luckless weekend.
The father and son combination could only complete one lap in the qualifying race after their Porsche was damaged in an unfortunate incident.
This forced them to start from the rear of the grid and despite racing with a damaged car, they still managed to salvage a P7 finish after a fighting drive.
“It’s always tough starting at the back after the issue we had in race two with Brenton getting taken out,” Stephen Grove said.
“We just had to let everyone settle – it’s pretty crazy back there.
“So once it had all settled, we were able to push on, get our tyre pressures right and start making some places back. So overall the result was very good.”
Touring Car competitor Aaron Cameron will start tonight’s qualifying race from the back of the grid after Team Australia was forced to complete a last-minute engine change on his Peugeot TCR.
The data revealed Cameron’s car was 10kph slower down the straights and the driver noted “everyone was just driving around me on the straights”.
The team was able to complete the change in enough time to get the Aussie out in qualifying where he recorded the 13th quickest lap.
Peter Bouzinelos had no luck and will start tonight’s opening race from the back after two DNF’s cruelled his Sunday campaign.
Despite the disappointment, Bouzinelos was upbeat about his prospects on the final day of racing.
“I thought I was going to do better, but obviously we DNF’d both races,” Bouzinelos said.
“First race I came off by myself, which is my mistake. Second race I was prepared to come top five until a couple of laps in a guy in front of me spun and smashed (my kart).
“I’ll just try again, keep my head up. I’ll fight and let’s see where we end up tomorrow.”
It was a day of redemption for Karting Sprint Senior representative Aiva Anagnostiadis. After qualifying at the rear of the field for today’s heats, Anagnostiadis fought hard to climb through the pack in each outing.
Anagnostiadis crossed the line in 13th outright after making numerous passes throughout the day on a track notoriously difficult to pass on.
“We made quite a lot of progress in speed and (making up) places, so I think we’re pretty happy overall,” Anagnostiadis said.
“There was a lot of moving around going on so I just went for the gaps. We have just been going forward and forward all day and that’s been the aim.”
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