In the first of four events, Simon Weigang and teammate Manuel Biancolilla traveled the Bahrain International Circuit, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and Silverstone Circuit.
Race 1: Bahrain
Starting strong in qualifying, Simon flew into Q3, securing his starting 7th on the grid, while Manuel endured some CP issues and thus started in 20th.
Pushing from behind, Manuel fought back to 16th on lap four. By making the hard tires last, he was able to jump another position to 15th when coming out of the pits on lap 21.
During the last seven laps he was able to push on the soft tyres, climbing to 12th place, but fought relentlessly with Nicolas Longuet for 11th place. He crossed the line in 12th, but fell in 16th after penalties were applied for causing avoidable contact.
Simon held his position for the first half of the race, unable to remount as he was stuck in the DRS gear. Jumping Dani Moreno in the pits, he came out 6th and put on his new Medium tyres.
He crossed the finish line in 5th after Thomas Roonhar suffered damage and let the peloton down. After the application of Frederik Rasmussen’s penalty for dangerous re-entry, Simon finished in 4th place.
Race 2: Imola
As they lined up for the second race of the year, Simon was 11th after narrowly missing out on Q3 in qualifying, while Manuel struggled to come out of Q1, starting 20th on the grid.
A first-lap crash forced Simon to pull away to avoid colliding with cars, picking up an in-game penalty for doing so. After having to slow down to make room, he tumbled and found himself 14th after the first lap.
By the end of lap seven, Simon had moved up to 11th while Manuel was in 18th place.
Stopping on lap 16 and swapping the hard tires for a set of mediums, Simon came out 13th and was able to move into the top ten, undermining several drivers.
He crossed the line in ninth and his penalty was overturned, meaning more points for the team. Manuel crossed the line in 16th.
Race 3: Silverstone
Struggling for pace on the British circuit, Manuel qualified in 19th while Simon had his lap time suppressed due to track limitations so he started in 20th.
There was a fight for positions on the first lap, and Simon took advantage of it, pushing all the way to 17th before getting stuck on a DRS train and unable to pass anyone.
Manuel was involved in an incident on the first lap, ending with him off the track and forcing him to retire early in the race.
Going longer on the hard tyres, Simon switched to medium compound and came out 18th with seven laps to go. Crossing the line in P18, the team unfortunately took no points at Silverstone.
Simon Weigang, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: “I have mixed emotions after the end of the first event. Although I started strong in Bahrain, I didn’t finish where I wanted for Imola or Silverstone.
“The pace of the car is competitive, but it’s a shame we had some issues in qualifying that we couldn’t make up for in the race. Overall we’ve seen what we can do as a team and we know where to improve, ready for the next event.”
Manuel Biancolilla, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: “The first event definitely didn’t go as I expected. The training routine I had been using up until the first event is something we will have to revisit.
“Material issues influenced my consistency, and hopefully they won’t be there at the next event. The pace is definitely there, but there’s a lot to improve in the one-shot laps, running and set-up.
“I’m going to take a weekend break for all of that and then head straight into training for event two, to come back much stronger.”
Miguel Faisca, Team Manager, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: “Having a new line-up of drivers for this year comes with challenges and this first event was important to understand our drivers and know that we can help them perform in future races.
“The first event is when the teams can see how good their preparation was. We went in with little expectations, but came out with an idea of what we need to improve on to get stronger for the second event.”
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