Car troubles hit Webster’s opening race in GP3 Series

FIGHTING THE WHEEL: Josh Webster is pictured in race two of the GP3 Series' opening event at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. picture: Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service
FIGHTING THE WHEEL: Josh Webster is pictured in race two of the GP3 Series' opening event at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. picture: Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service
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A dejected Josh Webster was unable to enjoy his GP3 Series debut after a series of mechanical mishaps damaged his chances of a strong display.

The race ace, 19, from Mickfield, near Debenham, was forced to start from 25th on the grid for the opening race at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, when a loss of fuel pressure caused his engine to die on his fastest run of the session.

Webster looked set to take 12th, based on the times he had set in sectors one and two, but his weekend did not improve from there as his throttle jammed open in both races, causing his retirement in each.

“I didn’t enjoy at all,” admitted the twice Formula Renault BARC Championship runner-up. “We had massive problems with the car, which hadn’t been sorted from testing unfortunately.
“It was an absolute shocker of a weekend and one I don’t want to repeat.”

The GP3 Series is on the Formula One (F1) undercard, but even getting a taste of the glitz and glamour of an F1 race weekend for the first time could not lift Webster’s spirits.

“I would love to say I enjoyed it, but I didn’t at all,” he added. “I didn’t see one F1 car on track because I was working so flat out.”

Although he did not get much of a chance to show how he could perform on the circuit by retiring on lap six of race one and lap 14 of race two, Webster believes he has more than enough ability to get his Status Grand Prix car into a good position.

“I believe I can be as quick as the people at the front, but we don’t have the car,” said the former karting champion, who hopes to put the technical issues right during testing in Hungary on June 3 and 4.

Status believe the throttle issues, which meant Webster was unable to lift off the power and subsequently wrecked his tyres with the extreme braking required to slow the car down, are being caused by a major electronic fault in the car and will investigate further before the Budapest test.

“It’s frustrating to think that people will think I’m rubbish, because I’m not,” added Webster. “We should be a lot more competitive at the Hungary test.”

In race one, Webster got away brilliantly, overtaking four cars, but the throttle problem had already become evident on the formation lap and he was unable to slow the car down sufficiently for the first corner, losing the ground he had gained.

Having retired four laps in, he hoped for better in race two, but with the issue becoming intermittent and making the car extremely difficult to control, he was only able to hold on to 19th place for so long before his tyres were ruined and a second retirement beckoned on lap 14.

The next race weekend is at the Circuit Ricardo 
Tormo in Spain on June 15 and 16.