The Finnish squad had high expectations for the final double-header of the season in Barcelona after finding some improvements after the Latvian double-header, but they were soon brought down to reality with Timur Timerzyanov bowing out in the semi-finals at round seven (on Saturday).
And, while it looked a bit better for Niclas Grönholm who made the final. He finished in fourth place and admitted that his Hyundai i20 was lacking grip.
Whilst Saturday did not bring the desired results, GRX Taneco worked into the night to analyze why they were lacking grip and make the necessary changes for Sunday's round, but unfortunately, both GRX Taneco drivers were still struggling with grip and were unable to match the pace of their rivals.
Despite lacking grip, Grönholm admits that the team has taken a step forward with race starts (launches), and he believes that he had the right tire strategy, but he was unable to make use of it.
"We had good starts and I must say that is a big step forward from where we were at the beginning of the season, but out on the track we still struggled with the grip," he said. "I think we were also very good on the tire strategy, but just couldn’t take the advantage of it."
"Now it will be a long break before we go to Belgium, and I really hope we can find a solution and be more competitive in the next race."
Missing the draw on Saturday evening for round eight, Timur started his day off in Q1 Race 1 where he finished behind Robin Larsson and was sixth overall with two qualifying sessions to go.
Whilst leading Q2 Race 3 in the early stages, he did not have the pace to match the likes of Kristoffersson and Bakkerud. And, would finish behind his teammate Niclas in fourth seeing him drop a position in the overall standings to P7 overall.
Q3 saw the GRX Taneco drivers both have great launches, but Anton Marklund had other plans and led the race into turn 1/2, while Timo Scheider also got the best of the duo, which meant Timur would finish behind his teammate once again.
In the semi-finals, the Russian made it through the first corner last, and despite a first lap joker he was only able to jump Enzo Ide to finish in fifth-place where his weekend would end.
"It was a tough race today [Sunday] and the track evolution didn’t make my day any easier," Timerzyanov said. "At some moments we were able to deliver, but overall we are not where we want to be and we need to work on finding the overall pace."
Jussi Pinomäki, the GRX Taneco Team Manager says despite reaching a new low, the only way is up, and his team will use the month break between Barcelona and Belgium to bring the team back to the top again.
"It’s not a simple sport and I guess that’s what makes it so attractive. Everyone has their ups and downs, and at the moment we are quite down," Pinomäki said. "But it means that there is only one way to go from here - and that is up. Everyone in the team is working really hard to bring us back at the top and now we have one month to do it."
After eight races of the season, Niclas Grönholm is currently fourth and Timur Timerzyanov tenth in the drivers’ standings, while the GRX Taneco squad hangs onto third in the teams' standings.
Written By - Junaid Samodien