Marta Garcia once again shows a solid performance at the traditional Zolder circuit

- The 18-year old Spaniard ranks sixth place and third place in free training
- Marta Garcia puts her W Series Tatuus F318 in fourth position in the qualifying session.
- Garcia shows good defensive skills and retained fourth place in the race.

Marta Garcia travelled to Zolder last Wednesday for the second round of the brand new W Series as part of the DTM program, just three weeks after the successful season opener at Hockenheim in Germany and the past two weeks jam-packed with final school exams.

On Thursday, first of all the race cars were drawn for all the drivers competing at Zolder in Belgium. This is a unique feature in Motorsport, where all the F3 cars are rotated in the W Series to provide more equal opportunities on one hand and in another aspect, allows the drivers to work together with different engineers and mechanics, seeing they do not remain in the same car for the entire season. This assists the communication skills and adaptability, another key factor and extremely important quality for successful race drivers.

Next, it was about getting to know the track using the five Pro Sim simulators, which are always brought to the events by W Series – and also unique in racing – where at least the top drivers know the track layout well. For Marta Garcia, one of three 18 years old and youngest in the field, everything was new, not knowing any of the circuits in the W Series and after one and a half years out of the car, she has a lot to catch up.

Marta Garcia‘s plan this year is clearly defined, to make up for the lost ground and be back at the front by the end of 2019, finishing school in mid-June. The top four is within her sight, more is always possible, especially if you know Marta Garcia’s talent and potential. The focus this year is 100% on development and learning, from the middle of the season school is finished, and then it’s full focus on racing.

In addition to the W Series this year, there are some different tests planned for Garcia, with a lot of development work in the simulator and three races in the Formula Renault Eurocup series, as well as the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand on the winter program. Securing the title in the W Series is the underlying goal for the second year.

On Friday, it was all about getting to know the track in the race car in the two free practice sessions, without risking running off. In the end, Marta Garcia finished on sixth place in FP1. After closely studying the data and onboard videos, it was time for the second free practice. It was noticeably better and Garcia ranked third in the second free practice, ready for the qualifying on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, Marta posted the fourth best time of the qualifying session in the very last possible lap, which was really close. Garcia had two sets of tyres available for the qualifying and the race in the afternoon, so the decision was made to use the first set for only one or two easy laps to begin with and the second set to push for the quick time towards the end of the qualifying session. Perhaps waiting too long to return to the track, with the traffic and time pressure, as well as two massive “snap oversteers” that had cost three-tenths, didn’t allow her to set a faster lap time.

On Saturday at 4.10pm the race started. The start was good with Garcia quickly finding the rhythm, until there were two safety cars disruptions. In the second, Garcia got the tyres dirty and could not get them clean for the rest of the race. The car was then very difficult to drive and she was unable to keep pace with the top three, therefore, could only hold her position for the remainder of the race. At the end of a tough race, the very young Spaniard took the chequered flag to finish fourth.

Marta Garcia drove home to fourth in the championship in Zolder, in 19 days the next race will take place in Misano, Italy and in 24 days the three-day final oral exams.

Marta Garcia:

“It was not a bad weekend, I was expecting more, but I simply must accept that I need time and am currently finishing school. Naturally I want to win, which I will do, but at this time – still – not realistic. Patience is not one of my strengths, but persistence is.”