Second year drivers may have dominated the opening round of the season in Barcelona, Clément Novalak amongst them, but the Frenchman doesn’t see the rookies struggling for long, saying that expects them to be amongst the frontrunners sooner rather than later.
Making his competitive debut for Trident, Novalak was one of the most consistent drivers in the season opener. Finishing every session inside of the top 10, including a podium in Race 1, the Frenchman finished the weekend third in the Drivers’ Championship.
Confident the competition will only get stronger as the season goes on, Novalak is convinced himself and Trident can up their game as well.
“It’s true that the rookies probably struggled, but it was their first weekend,” said Novalak. “I think a lot of them are quick learners, I can tell that from their results from the last few years.
“It was the same big names near the front (this weekend), like (Dennis) Hauger. (Jack) Doohan was very quick in the last race today and Olli (Caldwell) did a mega job this weekend as well.
“We were consistent. Being P7 in Quali, it was more about damage limitation. Even though that doesn’t sound bad, you are hoping to be higher up all of the time. The points scoring opportunities did come my way though and I think that we took them all this weekend.”
Before heading to Le Castellet for his home race, the field will get the chance to build on Round 1 during a two-day test at Jerez this week. Novalak reckons it could be a vital couple of days for the team, as they look to assert their position as one of the title favourites.
“We’ve got a lot of data from this weekend to analyse, especially from a race run point of view,” continued Novalak. “The overtakes looked cool on screen, but they were pretty hard to achieve because we never really nailed sector 3, so there are definitely things to look into in testing.
“We will crunch the data that we got this weekend and use the two days to get the car even more in the window, so that when we get to Paul Ricard, we are on the pace pretty much straight away.”