ENFORCED RETIREMENT ROBS BRATT OF CAREER-BEST GP2 FINISH GP2 Asia Series driver Will Bratt enjoyed a typically competitive run during the fourth round of the 2009/2010 championship in Abu Dhabi today, Saturday, 6th February, although late-race...
ENFORCED RETIREMENT ROBS BRATT OF CAREER-BEST GP2 FINISH
GP2 Asia Series driver Will Bratt enjoyed a typically competitive run during the fourth round of the 2009/2010 championship in Abu Dhabi today, Saturday, 6th February, although late-race contact from Swede Marcus Ericsson forced the Briton out of the race with less than five laps remaining.
Following on from a fine 12th place finish under the floodlights at Yas Marina yesterday evening, the 21-year-old Party Poker Racing.com Scuderia Coloni racer looked all set to secure a career-best GP2 result today as he challenged Bulgarian Vladimir Arabadzhiev on the cusp of the top 10.
With Ericsson close behind the battling duo as they headed into the 18th tour of the 22-lap Sprint Race, the Swedish pilot out-braked himself and clattered into the back of Will's Dallara-Renault. The talented Banbury driver did manage to recover to the pits but the damage to his car was too severe, leading to an immediate retirement.
"I'm disappointed with the end result but it's been quite a positive weekend", said Will, "Taking a top 12 in race one was good and everything looked set for a top 10 finish today but it just wasn't to be. I'm happy I put up a good fight, it's just a shame (Marcus) Ericsson out-braked himself as I looked up the inside of (Vladimir) Arabadzhiev. Even so, we've again shown we're competitive in GP2."
Although finishing round three on Friday in 12th position, Will started today's encounter 11th on the grid after Mexican Sergio Perez was served with a post-race 25 second penalty for a yellow flag infringement -- dropping him from his original placing of ninth to 12th.
Making a good getaway, following an originally aborted start due to Jules Bianchi stalling his car, Will remained in 11th position on the first lap but contact between Perez and Czech racer Josef Kral caused problems for both, allowing the Party Poker Racing-backed Briton to move into ninth place.
Following the collision the Safety Car was deployed for two laps and although holding station after the re-start, Will slipped behind Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic just before mid-distance. On lap 15, Dutchman van der Garde was forced to pit with a broken front wing after contact with Arabadzhiev so this enabled Will to run back in 11th position having earlier slipped behind Bianchi.
The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star certainly had the measure of Arabadzhiev as the race edged towards its conclusion but on lap 18, Ericsson's contact with the rear of Will's car meant the 2009 Euroseries 3000 Champion and Italian Formula 3000 Champion had no option but to retire.
Drawing praise for his performance from British Eurosport's GP2 television commentary team, Martin Haven and Gareth Rees, Will certainly has plenty of positivity to take away with him from Abu Dhabi as he heads into a three week break before the third race meeting of the season.
Rounds five and six of the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia Series will take place at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Kingdom of Bahrain, on Friday, 26th February and Saturday, 27th February.
-source: will bratt