Fifth-place in Pro-Am for Grove in Monaco after opening lap skirmish

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A fifth-place result in Pro-Am, 22nd outright, was the best that Stephen Grove could manage after being turned around on the opening lap in Monte Carlo, Monaco for Round 2 of Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

Starting from 23rd outright after being baulked by traffic in qualifying, Grove was determined to soldier forward in the 16 lap race.

Cloudy conditions greeted the drivers on race day in the Principality with the Porsche Supercup race setting the stage before the prestigious Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

As the five red lights went out on the start gantry, the field charged down to the first corner and kept within the confines of the barriers.

Grove moved in front of two cars in the opening exchanges as the lap took in the sights of the picturesque harbor city and corners like Sainte Devote and Casino Square.

When they reached the tight Fairmont Hairpin, Grove was turned around by another competitor and fell to the back of the field.

Incidents for other drivers saw him elevated to 22nd outright, while a Safety Car on Lap 12 bunched the pack up again for a short dash to the end.

When the chequered flag flew, Grove crossed the line in fifth for the Pro-Am class and 22nd outright.

He also set his fastest lap of the race, a 1:39.671s, on the penultimate tour.

Speaking after the race, Grove believes his strong pace went unrewarded but affirmed that a podium result in class is not too far on the horizon.

After the opening two rounds of the season, Grove finds himself fourth in the Pro-Am standings on 26 points.

Round 3 of the 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria from June 28-30.

Before that, Grove will take part in the two-day Supercup test at Silverstone, Great Britain this week on Wednesday and Thursday.

STEPHEN GROVE QUOTEBOARD:

“Monaco is a really, really tough track. It’s a tough track because you’ve got to be precise, but you’ve also got to be quick — there’s absolutely no room for mistakes. In the back of your mind, you’ve got the 107 percent rule for qualifying in order to be classified and it’s something that’s really hard to achieve. The whole weekend the objective is to try and do that first so that you can participate in the race and I managed to tick that box, despite the horrendous traffic in qualifying — you’ve got 28 cars going around and backing up in the last sector to get a gap, so getting a clean lap was difficult.

“In the race, I got a good start and made up a few positions but got turned around at the hairpin which was unfortunate and put me at the back. Towards the end, I had some good pace, went a second quicker than my lap in qualifying so I feel like that pace has gone a bit unrewarded. There’s not much track time, especially for a street circuit, you’ve got a 40-minute practice session, 30-minute qually and then straight into the race, so to do my fastest time for the weekend on Lap 15 of the race just shows that you keep building and keep learning. Getting into the one minute thirty nines is good, I’m happy with that in the end. One or two places would have been better, but the front three Pro-Am guys, it was probably going to be a challenge to catch them, so fourth place might have been where I would have ended up but fifth was it after being turned around. 

“The Red Bull Ring in Austria is a completely different circuit; high speed, massive braking — you make all your time up under braking there so we need to have a different mindset when we go there. The two-day test at Silverstone this week will help us with the high-speed stuff; I’m looking forward to getting more seat time.”

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