Giorgio Maggi feels “great to be racing again” in the 2022 season’s opening round at Circuit Ricardo Tormo as the Swiss driver experienced a challenging weekend on his first start with his new team Race Art Technology.
The young and talented Swiss driver Giorgio Maggi returns to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series this year as he starts his first race with his new team Race Art Technology during the NASCAR GP Spain that was held on 15-16 May.
Maggi, who didn’t do much private pre-season testing before the Thursday official pre-season test, didn’t have the best start to the new season as his Thursday test was cut short by a blown tire that forced the No. 18 Toyota Camry team to end their day early.
Despite this initial setback, Maggi was able to log in plenty of laps during Friday’s official Practice session before he successfully advanced through the Qualifying to enter the reintroduced Superpole session for the first time.
“It was all new after three years with Hendriks Motorsport,” said Maggi. “In the pre-season test, a new tire blew up in my face right after a few laps, so we didn’t do many test kilometers on the new tires.”
“But the first laps in qualifying went very well. I wasn’t at the limit yet and there was still some room for improvement in the setup, but overall it was very good. In Superpole it was a different story, with the cold tires I had no grip on the rear axle.”
Maggi would start the first race of the weekend in 9th place and the race itself went well initially as a good start, coupled with incidents involving some of the front runners, meant that Maggi was able to climb up to 5th during the opening part of the race.
Unfortunately, the rear grip issues then started to creep in once again. Maggi tried his best to defend his position in the Top-5 but in the end he would finish the race in 6th place, having initially finished 7th before he was promoted one spot after Frédéric Gabillon received a post-race penalty for track limit infringements.
“I got off to a good start and fought my way up to fifth place,” said Maggi on his Race 1 performance. “When I was fighting for fourth place, the safety car came. At the beginning the car felt good, but as the race progressed I lost grip on the rear axle. That’s why towards the end of the race I had my problems holding my position.”
“At the second restart I had to give room to a competitor in Turn 2 who had miscalculated the situation. In the end, though, I’m satisfied with seventh place.”
The second race wouldn’t turn out to be better, however. Maggi’s rear grip issues in Race 1 meant that he wasn’t able to set a fastest lap good enough for a Top-10 starting position in Race 2 and further problems would hamper his performance further, eventually finishing in 18th place after he received a penalty for breaking the restart procedure on the final restart.
“The second race was a disaster because I got stuck in the midfield right away,” explained the Swiss driver on his Race 2 performance. “The restart was better, but more would have been possible. In addition, my brakes then gave up the ghost.”
“I was happy that I was able to cool them down in the yellow phase because I’m not sure I could have finished the race under green. We made good progress, but unfortunately it was a little too late.”
Despite these issues, Maggi still came out from Valencia with plenty of confidence and a Top-10 result in the overall championship standings. He currently sits in 10th with 50 points, just beating Lucas Luhr by virtue of a higher finishing position tiebreaker.
“Except for the brakes, the car felt good in the second race. It was great to be racing again,” said Maggi on his overall thoughts after the Valencia weekend.
“In the winter I spent a lot of time on iRacing to keep the feeling of the duels. That worked, because I had some good duels – especially with Fred Gabillon. I’m not entirely happy with the result, but it was great fun. As we’ve done very little pre-season testing, I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch with confidence.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric.