HB Racing – Performa Racing’s David Ronnefalk is setting his sights on a strong finish to his 2019 campaign, following a disappointing weekend in Asti.
Tipped by many to be a key contender for overall honours in the series, the Swede saw his slim title hopes fade during Rounds 5 and 6 in Italy, as title rival Davide Ongaro stormed to another two victories to cement himself as the 2019 Drivers’ Champion. Despite showing promising pace, Ronnefalk endured another difficult weekend in what has so far proved to be a challenging season for the Swedish ace.
Kicking off the season in Manila, Round 1 would see Ronnefalk would quickly establish his front-running pace, vying for the top spot with Davide Ongaro from practice through to the finals, ultimately taking second overall following a points tie – however, Sunday’s encounter would prove tougher, with tyre troubles forcing a determined drive to salvage a fourth place finish.
Rounds 3 and 4 in Fehring, Austria, saw the difficulties continue for Ronnefalk, with another strong podium finish on Sunday offset by a lowly seventh place finish on Saturday, widening the points gap to Ongaro as the season reached its midway point.
“My first half of the RCGP season was “not too bad”. I wasn’t able to get the win in any of the first four rounds even though we showed great potential both in the Philippines and in Austria. Unfortunately, I think I have been too cautious in the starts and instead of trying to avoid trouble I have always received the worst of other people’s mistakes. It has been a learning curve for sure and I’m really bummed that we were not able to win any of the first four rounds. I really think I should have been there to get my hands on at least two wins, which are both endurance (Sunday) races in the Philippines and Austria.”
The first half of the 2019 season saw mixed results for the Swede, as inconsistency widened the gap to title rival Ongaro.
Moving into the second half of the season, Rounds 5 and 6 in Asti would prove pivotal, with Ronnefalk’s title push fading after another inconsistent weekend.
“On Saturday I didn’t feel like we found the perfect setup on the car – also, being taken out in Q4 which cost me a possible TQ for the two legs didn’t help. I dropped down to third and had to get by Canas first. I tried hard in A1 but there was no space for a pass. I had to settle for third. In the second leg Canas made a mistake and so did I, we raced close and towards the end I felt comfortable getting by Elliott in the last two laps as he lost his wing.
“Unfortunately I never got the chance as I got taken out by the #23 and with my idle being a little low, the engine flamed before the marshal got there. This destroyed my chances of any decent finish, and it feels like the story of my RCGP season up until now.
“We struggled a little bit at times in Asti but together with Adrien (Bertin) and the addition of Atsushi to the team we found the speed and were very fast in the 88 lap race on Sunday. Unfortunately I started too far back and could never mount some pressure on Davide up front. The speed was definitely there though, and I really felt like I should have had second place in my hand. I was pushing and catching back up to Canas in second with 15 laps to go when I landed on the pipe in the left side chicane, I probably did so at least 10 times in the main but the last time the spike holding the pipe down ripped the rear arm off my car! I couldn’t believe what had just happened and again things didn’t go our way unfortunately.
“The track was probably in Davide’s favour. He knows the place very well there and even though the layout was different they surely have good knowledge of how the conditions changes there. The track was very tight and technical and there was just nowhere to make any pass unless the guy in front made a mistake.”
Rounds 5 and 6 in Asti proved largely fruitless for Ronnefalk, despite displaying front-running pace yet again.
Despite the Drivers’ Championship being out of the question, Ronnefalk’s enthusiasm heading into the final event of the season is as strong as ever, and with second overall still on the line – as well as the Teams’ Championship – the main aim remains unchanged.
“I knew it would be very hard, almost impossible to beat Davide already half way through. I never gave up on it though, he would need some issues of some kind as I had a fourth and eighth place finish in two of the rounds. My expectations were high going into round 5 & 6 in Asti, but again we had a very tough time out on the track. It’s very frustrating to say the least as I have no doubts in our dedication and work ethic, which I think is right where it has to be. The Championship is already decided so for the last two rounds I will just do all I can to take two wins away from Davide. I feel very comfortable on US style tracks and I think it will be a different story there.
“There is only one goal, get those wins and bring home second in the Drivers’ Championship and also in the Constructors’ Championship.”