Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya


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April 23, 2019
Published on tags: 2019 Superleague Petar Brljak


As the WTF1 GPVWC Superleague makes its way towards round four of the 2019 season in Baku, Bahrain GP victor Petar Brljak joins Ewan Gale to preview the one-of-a-kind circuit.
Sector one

The end is the beginning here, as the start line stands at the tail of the massive final straight. A short run to the 90-degree turn one is followed by another short squirt to an even tighter turn two. The first of the DRS zones is located on the run down to turn three, which is another box turn to the left.

Turn four is a right-hander which leads into a left-right chicane. Brljak points out that this could be the critical sector for overtaking:

"In sector one you want a car that's predictable when you're releasing the brakes, because the braking zones are so long and the entries and exits of the corners are pretty tight with walls all around them. Most of the overtaking will be done into turn one - or even before it if you're close enough because the draft is very strong this year. In turn three, if you're side-by-side, both cars have to be more careful than usual as it's easy to put the other driver in the wall."

Sector two

Ah, the infamous castle section. Around seven meters wide at the narrowest point there is no question that cars will be single file here, with no margin for error. A very tight right-hander precedes the complex, whilst at the top of the hill beckons a fast triple-left kink that leads to a narrow, downhill left hander. Love it or hate it, it is one of the most spectacular settings on the calendar. The kind of place that the most daring will be rewarded:

"Sector two is kind of always a case of how much you dare taking into that first [castle] part. I think we will be able to cut the inside curb as much as much as possible, however, there's a certain part where if you go over it, the car bottoms out and you'll end up hitting the wall. You want a nimble car through the whole of that section."

Sector three

The end to the lap officially contains four corners. Three of those are flat out and essentially part of the everlasting pit straight. To an outsider, the 'final corner' - a downhill left hander that tempts you into taking too much apex speed - is perhaps the most crucial on the circuit. However, Brljak says that the most important corner may be in sector two.

"I'd say that sector three is pretty straightforward, maybe the last corner in sector two is actually more important to stay close because you can gain quite a bit if you nail it over the inside curb, but if you overlook it, there's a wall waiting for you.

"This track feels almost like it has set traps for you to fall for with the tight corners and no run-off following long braking zones so you'll want to be in a rhythm and not too greedy. You can try going for more risk if you already have a good lap on the board."

The Croatian does warn that a repeat of Bahrain may be more difficult this time out:

"This track will maybe be slightly weaker for us because of our upgrade path, so it really depends if you get the setup together because we felt there's still a little bit more left in overall balance coming from Bahrain. As for expectations, after last race we'd say the target is to fight for the win but I'm really not sure what to expect, it might be a bit early to tell."

Petar missed the start of the season, but has managed to pick up two points finishes upon his return. He believes that the closeness of the field will help to fight his way up the standings:

"The field is really close this year, especially in qualifying, so that helps in a way of giving you a better opportunity to catch up if you perform well. Even though it's just been three races, the gap in constructors already looks a bit ominous."

And with the development race a key part of any Superleague campaign, Brljak explains that the Edge Esports squadron's performance will be largely track dependent:

"We've chosen a bit of different path to everyone else so the car performance itself might yo-yo around a bit because along with the offset in upgrade cycles, we're also developing a different area to some of those around us so track characteristics is another variable."

You can watch Round 4 of the WTF1 GPVWC Superleague from Baku on the GPVWC YouTube channel on April 25th. Qualifying starts at 19:30, with Lights-out at 20:00.