Oliver Goethe was beaming from ear-to-ear at the conclusion of the first Qualifying session of the 2023 season. Securing the fourth fastest time, the Trident driver was on cloud nine and admitted that the result represented a major turnaround in fortunes from a fortnight ago.
After pre-season testing didn’t go according to plan, Goethe felt that he had not shown his full potential in the #6 car. Dedicating his time and effort to finding the keys to unlock that pace, the German driver’s efforts were richly rewarded. Ending up only 0.135s off Gabriele Minì’s pole position-worthy lap, Goethe says that he and the team have finally taken steps in the right direction.
“I’m feeling amazing to be honest! The pre-season tests weren’t the best. I was quite far off where I am now, so I feel really happy. I worked really hard during the couple of weeks in between with the team and we made that step. I’m really happy with how it went.”
The Italian squad’s one-lap speed was on full show in Qualifying, as Trident were the only team to secure top 10 spots for their trio. Whilst the pace was there, stringing the perfect lap together was no easy feat.
Track limits proved to be the thorn in several drivers’ sides and Goethe was no exception, losing his first attempt at a flying lap after going over the kerbs at Turns 3, 14 and 15 and forcing him to balance risk versus reward.
Choosing to opt for a cautious approach proved to be a wise move, particularly as track evolution create a final lap shootout for the 30-car field. Managing the high-pressure situation, the 18-year-old was pleased to have handled it maturely.
“On the first push lap, I did track limits. It’s obviously very tricky in that corner to avoid doing it, but the next two laps were the ones that counted. I was just a little bit safe there with the track limits just to get the lap time in.
“Obviously, the track improved a lot throughout the session and that puts a lot of pressure on the drivers because it means they have to deliver on their last lap. They only have one lap to do it and if not, if they make a mistake, then they’re out of the picture. It put pressure on, but I did the job at the end of the day.”
Lining up ninth for the Sprint Race puts Goethe right in the mix for success in both races, but also in the fray during the often-hectic opening laps. Eager to build his campaign on consistency, he said that keeping things clean will be the target for both races.
However, seeing Sunday’s Feature Race as the main chance to bring home a haul of points, Goethe isn’t afraid to give it his all to fight for a potential maiden podium or victory.
“I just want to make the most of it, try not to make any mistakes and to get points from both races. Obviously in the Feature Race, I’m starting on the second row, so I feel like if the pace is good, I’ll be able to fight for at least a podium, if not a win.”