Gustav Malja retires from puncture-strewn Monza race

Gustav Malja retired from this weekend’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race at Monza after picking up a puncture, as almost one third of the field suffered tyre separations at the fastest circuit on the calendar.

Malja started Sunday’s race at Italy’s famous ”Temple of Speed” from 13th on the 29-car grid, but dropped out of the top 15 early on after making contact with home driver Alberto Cerqui on the first lap.

The race stabilised in the middle phases, but action picked up towards the end as a host of drivers suffered spectacular tyre blowouts.

Marius Nakken, Mikkel O. Pedersen, Larry ten Voorde, Josh Webster, Zaid Ashkanani and Nicolas Misslin all dropped out with dramatic punctures, and – entering the final lap – Malja became the next casualty as he parked up his Project 1 Porsche with a delaminated left rear tyre.

He was ultimately classified 26th, with victory going to Thomas Preining who took the chequered flag ahead of Lechner team-mate Michael Ammermüller.

“A shame to retire here at Monza, which is such a great track, but the tyres took a lot of beating and in my case I think it was a combination of factors that led to the puncture,” Gustav Malja says. “I could feel the car wobbling a lot after I made contact with Cerqui on the first lap, and then it just got worse and worse. I also think it might have been exaggerated by the specific nature of this high-speed track.

”Anyway, I felt we were competitive in the wet in practice on Friday, and qualifying too was alright. That was my first taste of this track in the dry in this car and I was just a few tenths off the top five, so given the circumstances I was quite pleased with that. It was definitely a step in the right direction compared to Spa last weekend.”

The Monza event marked the penultimate round of the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which draws to a close in Mexico City at the end of October.

Gustav Malja is back on track in just a few days’ time, however, as he returns to his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at Germany’s Sachsenring next weekend in Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.

Age: 22
2019 programme: Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland
Team: Project 1
CV: 2nd, ADAC Formel Masters (2012) – Swedish karting champion (2009) – Rydell Special Award recipient (2011-2012) – McLaren Performance Academy ”Driver of the Year” (2014).