Ryan Cullen remains optimistic despite 'tough weekend' at Brands Hatch
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Ryan Cullen remains optimistic despite 'tough weekend' at Brands Hatch

IRISH driver Ryan Cullen remains optimistic about the season ahead, after enduring a “tough weekend” at the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

The 23-year-old finished eighth in the second of the weekend’s races at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, following a mistake that dropped him four places.

Speaking to The Irish Post on Monday, Cullen – whose father hails from Co Leitrim – rued the missed opportunity to kick off his season with G-Cat Racing with a greater points haul.

“It was a hard weekend, it was the first round and there were about 30 cars on the grid,’ he said. “That’s a lot for a track like Brands Hatch.”

“It’s not a very long track and with mixed weather conditions it threw a lot of people around who should have been at the front, who instead placed middle of the field.”

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Cullen was fourth quickest in practice, but explains that the team’s gamble in qualifying with a tyre strategy didn’t pay off.   “I didn’t finish round one, we got the set up wrong and the car didn’t make it to the end, so I started the next race ninth,” he said.

“I got up to fourth, but a lot of people were going off the track so three safety cars came out during the race.

“I made a mistake and fell to eighth. It was a tough weekend as I’d got fifth fastest lap during the race. I was the quickest rookie, which is positive, but the results didn’t show this weekend.”

The Brands Hatch Indy circuit is 1.2 miles long, making it a shorter track than many of the championship’s following races.

This means that there is as little as three seconds covering the entire grid of 30 cars, and with 46 second laps, overlapping and congestion makes it a difficult track to succeed in.

Next up is Spa, Belgium, where rounds three and four take place on May 1 and 2, and the former GP3 driver is hoping to improve on his Easter weekend’s performance.

“If I had come out of the weekend with decent points it would have been fine for me to move on with the rest of the season,” he added.

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“Next step is to speak to the engineers on the phone this week and work on the car ahead of Spa.

“I’m aiming for a top five championship finish, and Spa will be a good test. It’s a bigger track so the fast drivers can establish greater leads.”