Sunday, 16 August 2015

Gosia Rdest

Gosia as an Audi driver

Malgorzata Rdest, always known as Malgosia or Gosia, is a Polish driver who races saloons and single-seaters in Europe.

She was born in 1993, and started karting quite late for someone who would go on to drive professionally; she was a teenager. At the age of twelve, she went to a car show, which sparked an interest in all things automotive. In 2011, she won the Polish championship in the KF2 class, and went on to race in Italy, winning some races.

Her first steps in senior competition were in 2012, a year later. She took part in the Formula BMW Talent Cup, held at Oschersleben in Germany, hoping to win a funded season of single-seater racing for 2013. Her inexperience showed, but she managed to finish all three races, with two sevenths and one tenth place. She was tenth in the championship.

She competed in Formula 4 in Great Britain in 2013, in the form of the MSA Formula series. Her best finish was eleventh, at Snetterton, and she was 18th in the championship, out of 27 drivers. After the main season had finished, she entered the Formula 4 Winter Series, and managed two eighth places, at Brands Hatch. This year, she took her first steps in saloon racing, and drove in three rounds of the Volkswagen Castrol Cup, in Austria, Hungary and Poland, with three top-ten finishes. These included a fifth place at the Red Bull Ring.

In 2014, she raced in the Volkswagen Castrol Cup in Eastern Europe. Her best result was sixth, at her home track of Poznan, and she finished in the top ten on three more occasions. She was fourteenth overall. A guest appearance in the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup gave her a DNF, and as a result, she could not start the next race. 

Saloon racing, in particular, one-make series, became her chief focus for 2015. Remaining with Volkswagen power, and in a Polish-based championship, she signed up for the Polish VW Golf Cup, which runs all over Eastern Europe. She finished in the top ten in nine of her twelve races, with a fifth places at the Sachsenring being her best result. She was tenth in the championship. In another VW Golf, she has also tried endurance racing, joining the KPM Racing team for the Dubai 24 Hours. She shared the car with Tom Wilson, Lucas Orrock and Javier Morcillo. They were ninth in class, and 51st overall. The next round of the 24 Hour series was a 12-hour race at Mugello, and Gosia drove a similar Golf, for the R6 Motorsport team. She was sixth in class, 37th overall, driving as part of an all-Polish team.

In Germany, she took part in the successor to the Scirocco-R Cup, the Audi Sport TT Cup. She was not as competitive in the Audi as she was in the Golf, and managed one eighth place, at the Red Bull Ring, as her best result. She was also ninth three times. The rest of her finishes are much lower down the order, and she was twelfth overall.

She continued to be based in Germany in 2016. A second season in the Audi Sport TT Cup was productive, and she scored her first podium finish, at the Nurburgring. This was augmented by two more top-five positions, on the way to a championship eighth. Perhaps with an eye on the future, she started racing in the TCR touring car series. She drove an Engstler-run Golf at Hockenheim in the German championship, and was nineteenth and eighth in her two races. At the end of the season, she travelled to Portugal and did two more guest spots in the Portuguese series, driving a Honda Civic for the Target team. She was seventh and third.

2017 started with the Dubai 24 Hours. She drove a TCR-spec SEAT Leon, as part of a five-driver team. They were 52nd overall and third in class.

For some of the rest of the year, she used a different TCR car in the ADAC TCR Championship, an Audi RS3. This was rather a frustrating experience; she managed one sixth place at Zandvoort, but spent the rest of the season either not finishing, or struggling outside the top twenty. She did not take part in the last two races of the year, and went back to the Audi TT Cup, in which she enjoyed a full season. Her best finishes were a pair of second places in the first rounds at Hockenheim and she was a regular top-ten finisher. This gave her a sixth place overall. 

The Audi TT Cup finished after the 2017 season, but Gosia continued to be associated with the Audi marque. She was one of the winners of the GT4 class of the 2018 Dubai 24 Hour GT race, driving an R8 LMS with an Anglo-Asian team. They were 26th overall.

Still on an endurance theme, Gosia then travelled to the USA to take part in the Daytona 24 Hours. She was part of an all-girl team for the supporting IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, with Ashley Freiberg. They were running well in class in their Audi R8, but ran into problems and finished 18th.

Gosia has stated that her aim is still to become Poland’s first Formula One champion, following on the path begun by one of her role models, Robert Kubica. With only one full season of single-seaters behind her, this seems unlikely now, although a drive in the WTCC or the DTM is within her reach, and could bring her success.

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