|PHOTO CREDIT: GRX Taneco Team.|
Grönholm had a hard time from the warm-up on Sunday, failing to achieve any pace. The Finnish driver only managed to finish eleventh in Q3, but things got no better in Q4 and he ended up thirteenth. In P9 overall after Q4, he qualified for the semi-final but had to be happy with the third line on the grid. He did his best to weave his way to the front, but to no avail.
“I don’t understand why I didn’t get the speed we had yesterday [Saturday]. My settings were maybe not right but one thing is for sure, I didn’t feel confident in the car and that was starkly evident in the time sheets," Grönholm explained. "I threw myself into the semi-finals. I intended to claw back a few places before my joker lap but I was already last after the first few corners."
Niclas Grönholm gained a place in the drivers' championship and now lies seventh, but after a tough weekend, he aims to improve ahead of the next round. "We’ve got a lot of work to do before the next round. We need to assess this weekend’s mistakes to come back stronger in Latvia.”
Grönholm's teammate, Timur Timerzyanov was back on form and secured a season best despite the sweltering heat in France. Second in Q2, the Russian clocked the fifth-best time of the session and went on to take sixth place in Q4. His efforts paid off and he moved up from 12th to eighth place overall. However, he failed to reap the benefit of starting the semi-final from the second row of the grid.
“It was a great day and we showed good top speed. We did our very best in a hotly-disputed race," said Timerzyanov. "I enjoyed myself although I am disappointed with my semi-final but I gave it my all."
The Russian achieved a season-best with the fifth and sixth top times in Sunday’s qualifiers. "I’m looking forward to the next round and to feeling good in the car."