REMARKABLE EFFORT BY BRATT & DE VILLOTA IN PORTIMAO PRACTICE PartyPokerRacing.it Euroseries 3000 racer Will Bratt produced a remarkable effort during free practice at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve facility in Portugal yesterday, Friday,...
REMARKABLE EFFORT BY BRATT & DE VILLOTA IN PORTIMAO PRACTICE
PartyPokerRacing.it Euroseries 3000 racer Will Bratt produced a remarkable effort during free practice at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve facility in Portugal yesterday, Friday, 15th May, to emerge fourth fastest ahead of this weekend's season curtain-raiser.
Competing against a number of GP2 Series drivers and experienced Euroseries 3000 Championship racers, 21-year-old Will ended the first of Friday's two 30-minute sessions fifth fastest with a time of 1m 33.597 seconds (178.775km/h), just nine 10ths of a second shy of the outright pace in his Zytek-engined Lola.
In the second half hour yesterday afternoon, the Banbury-based driver improved further to post the fourth quickest lap within just three 10ths of a second of pace-setter Fabrizio Crestani; the latter having finished fifth overall in the 2008 Euroseries 3000 Championship.
Will managed to outpace a string of very quick and highly experienced young drivers including GP2 race winner Pastor Maldonado, fellow GP2 contender Roldan Rodriguez and A1GP, GP2 and World Series by Renault racer Clivio Piccione.
Marking an unbelievable turn around after two incredibly frustrating days of inaction for Will and his EmiliodeVillota.com Motorsport team due to serious problems with his car, Friday's performance underlined the potential of the package ahead of rounds one and two.
"Friday was an incredible day for us as we missed almost the entirety of the two-day test earlier in the week due to a serious problem with the car", said Will, "It put us a long way behind everyone else in terms of preparation and learning the car and the track.
"To be fifth in the morning, effectively my first proper run since we arrived in Portugal, was a credit to the incredibly hard work of the team and then in the afternoon we were actually fastest of all towards the end of the session before slipping back to fourth. Considering all of the dramas, to be just three 10ths away from the top at this point is very pleasing."
With practically no running at all throughout the two day official test at the Portimao track on Wednesday, 13th May, and Thursday, 14th May, Will was forced to spend almost the entire duration in the pit garage due to major mechanical problems.
While the majority of his fellow competitors had an untroubled couple of days with the front-runners completing around 150 laps or so, the Oxon racer managed just a handful of low speed tours as his team worked incredibly hard to get to the bottom of the gremlins.
Working late into the night after both test days to try and find the root of the problems, the team fitted a completely new rear end to Will's car overnight on Thursday in readiness for yesterday's two, short 30-minute runs.
Will added: "The team has been working flat out since we arrived in Portimao, each day they've been working past midnight to find the source of the problems, they've done an unbelievable job. We spent the two test days in the pit garage, very frustrating for me and for the whole team.
"I wasn't able to properly learn the circuit at all before Friday's practice so we couldn't even get a base set-up. We started at square one yesterday, completely on the back foot without a single lap of data, so it shows what a great job the team has done. To achieve what we have in just two half hour sessions is very encouraging and a huge confidence boost."
The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star will get his 2009 season properly underway this morning, Saturday, 16th May, with qualifying for the opening round of the PartyPokerRacing.it Euroseries 3000 Championship taking place at 08.30 -- the race itself follows at around 16.05. Round two is scheduled for 13.35 on Sunday, 17th May.