Arthur PicArthur Pic enjoyed a productive Formula Renault 3.5 weekend at the Hungaroring (15/16 September) as two points-paying finishes for the DAMS driver promoted him to fifth in the championship standings.

Following a stellar recovery drive to fourth at last month’s Silverstone event, the Montélimar native travelled to the Hungarian Grand Prix venue seeking another strong points haul.

He began well with fourth on the grid for Saturday’s opening contest, though with his fastest lap spoiled by yellow flags the 20-year-old was left feeling that a spot on the front-row had been within reach.

Pic was able to hold his position on the dash to turn one despite starting on the right-hand side of the notoriously dusty Hungaroring track. Settling into a rhythm, the DAMS driver fought an entertaining duel for fourth with Antonio Felix da Costa. Though Pic would eventually lose out on the spot he was nevertheless able to chase the Portuguese home and secure a crucial 10 points.

Building on this, Pic delivered a superb qualifying effort in Sunday morning’s session to grab third on the grid, giving him legitimate hopes of challenging for victory come the afternoon’s race.

However, his chances were dealt an unfortunate blow at the start when the pole-man failed to get away directly ahead of him, forcing Pic onto the grass and allowing a number of cars to slip past.

From there the Frenchman would continue to show impressive pace but ultimately had to settle for a sixth place finish, taking the chequered flag just over a second behind championship leader Robin Frijns.

Arthur Pic: “Overall Hungary was a good weekend for us. In race one I got a good start and was running P4 during the early stages. The car was a bit tricky to drive and I made an error that allowed Da Costa past at the end of the pit straight. After that we managed to hold on to P5, but the level of performance we’d hoped for wasn’t quite there.

“On Sunday morning we found a great set-up and qualifying went really well. We were missing that extra something that would have allowed me to take P1, but third was still excellent. Frustratingly the pole-man stalled ahead of me at the start and, though I managed to avoid him, I swerved into the grass and dropped back a few places. I then had a great battle with Frijns and by the closing stages we’d caught Sam Bird. I made a small mistake attacking him and Frijns got through, leaving me sixth at the finish.

“I have some regrets over Sunday’s race as the car was very quick and we had the potential to be on the podium, or perhaps even fight for the win. On the positive side however we scored good points in both races, which is great for the championship.”

Having secured a total of 18 points over the course of the weekend, Pic has vaulted a further championship position to fifth and remains firmly in contention to snatch fourth. The series concludes with trips to the Paul Ricard circuit in his native France (September 29/30) and Spanish Grand Prix venue Circuit de Catalunya (October 20/21).

Formula Renault 3.5 championship standings
1. Robin Frijns – 166 points
2. Jules Bianchi – 142 points
3. Sam Bird – 139 points
4. Marco Sorensen – 101 points
5. Arthur Pic – 94 points
6. Nick Yelloly – 92 points

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Photo by Dutch Photo Agency.