Dennis Hauger may be entering the final round of the season on the brink of winning the Championship, but with three races to run, the PREMA Racing driver says he’s not “trying to rush anything."
Hauger can mathematically cement first place in Race 1 if he increases his points advantage over Jack Doohan by one, with the Norwegian currently on 193 and Doohan in second on 150.
However, having never previously driven at the Sochi Autodrom, Hauger is wary of how much can go wrong with Qualifying and two reverse grids to tackle.
“I have never even been to Russia before, so it will be interesting to see how the track is in FP,” said Hauger. “I expect there to be a lot of racing as it’s a track where there will be some opportunities.
“It will be important to stay calm and just do the same as we always do. The team are working hard to be prepped for the weekend. We’re just taking it race by race, trying to pick up as many points as possible. We can only focus on what we can do and what we can achieve.”
A collision with Ido Cohen on the penultimate lap of Race 2 in the previous round at Zandvoort chucked Hauger out of the top 10 and robbed him of points. There was also a similar scenario in the opening round at Barcelona when Hauger and Matteo Nannini came together during a frantic battle for the lead in Race 2.
They are two of just three races where he’s failed to take points and Hauger’s determined to avoid a fourth.
“Race 1 can punish you,” Hauger continued. “If you do something wrong, you're suddenly stuck at the back in Race 2, so we will just have to try and find that balance.
“Finding the balance between risk and reward has been key this season. Sometimes, like in Zandvoort, it was a bit over the top, but I think at those types of tracks, you have to go for your opportunities. It’s about trying to find that balance throughout the season and I think we've done a decent job on that.
“There are still three races to go, so I’m not too focused on the title and I’m not trying to rush anything. We’re focused on Qualifying first of all. Hopefully, we can take pole again, but we need to find some consistency. The team have done a great job to always be on top this season.”