Ronan Murphy has conceded his latest US Formula 4 round from Barber Motorsport Park was slightly disappointing with a lack of speed across the weekend setting a low tone for the aspiring Kiwi.
Fresh off scoring his maiden podium last round out, the Kiwi Motorsport pilot was hoping to carry over his increase in confidence within himself and the team for round three of the shortened six-event series.
But ultimately, Murphy found himself mired among the midfield as he struggled to extract the maximum potential of his car and was forced to deal with an intrusion of slower cars around him in each race which he slowly picked off one-by-one.
With a lack of practice and qualifying cancelled due to biblical rains, Murphy had little time to prepare for the four-race round around the Alabama circuit and was compelled to start 17th for the first 30-minute affair courtesy of his championship position.
“Qualifying was cancelled due to a thunderstorm which unfortunately meant I had to start quite far down the field,” Murphy told Velocity News.
“This sort of set the tone for the weekend, as Barber is a hard track to pass at, which meant I ended up having to work hard to make my way forward as much as possible.
“I don’t think we had the speed this weekend to be challenging right at the front due to a few different reasons, which was disappointing following the speed we had at Round 2. But qualifying getting cancelled really did not help.”
Murphy did manage to drag himself forward in three of the four races, demonstrating promising glimpses of potential in an otherwise duff weekend.
Overall, Murphy claimed 12th, 10th, 19th and a 14th across all four races.
The Kiwi Motorsport quartet did prove to have some of the most stable cars in race trim, suggested by Murphy’s teammates Spike Kohlbecker and Jose Blanco-Chock picking up one win apiece in races two and three.
However, the 18-year-old from Hawkes Bay admits he is determined to flip the script ahead of the next round and has identified several positives to take away from the weekend with each area of weakness nothing more than a learning experience.
The acme of Murphy’s weekend was undoubtedly his charge from outside the top-20 to claim tenth in race two. The narrow width of the circuit coupled by a myriad of technical one-line corners that flow into one another makes Barber Motorsport Park notoriously difficult to overtake.
Thus, while the results were far from ideal at the chequered flag, the fact Murphy started each race down the order but often managed to charge onto the fringe of the top-10 is a positive the young Kiwi is pleased to embrace moving forward.
“Race 2 was definitely the highlight of the weekend coming through from 22nd to 10th, but it was just really unfortunate having to start that far back in the first place,” he said.
“Overall, I was disappointed with how the weekend went, but there were still positives to take from it, and it was another learning experience at another really incredible race track.
“Now [I am] just really looking forward to the coming rounds after a bit of a break in between and it should be a good chance to come back strong and finish off the season on a high note.”
The US F4 championship only has three rounds still pencilled in on the curtailed 2020 calendar.
The last round was slated to act as a support category for this year’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas which has since been cancelled. Though it is still unknown whether the series will still attempt to stage an event at the Texas venue in October or axe the round entirely.
Fortunately, the next round of the championship is not scheduled until September 25-27 at Sebring meaning the event is not currently at risk of postponement granted the US can grasp a handle on tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.