Team AirAsia marked their international GP2 debut with an outstanding P3 for Davide Valsecchi, putting them close to the front of the grid for tomorrow's race. Brake problems for Luiz Razia's car meant that his qualifying session came to an early end, resulting in a frustrating P21 for the Brazilian driver.
Davide Valsecchi (P3 / best time 1:36:501 / 15 laps): "The whole team did a good job today. It was not perfect, but I was hoping for a top five finish by the end of qualifying and we finished third so I am very happy! We were competitive, the car feels very quick and overall I'm extremely happy with the setup and the effort from the whole team. My aim for tomorrow is to stay in the top three, keep calm and continue fighting for a good end to the race; ultimately I would like to finish on the podium."
Luiz Razia (P21 / best time 1:37:426 / 9 laps): "The first part of qualifying was quite good - the conditions were similar to those of the last test and we did very well during those runs, so I was confident in the car. When we switched to our second set of tyres I found I had a problem with the brakes, which meant I couldn't run anymore and my qualifying session ended early. Tomorrow will be a challenge - starting from the back usually means you have to pit early but we will have to look at our strategy. We need to look after our tyres and I think it's going be a tough race but I'm ready."
Phill Spencer, Team Manager: "We are all so pleased with Davide's result but frustrating to have had the brake troubles on Luiz's car. We'll investigate what the problem was and work hard to give him a chance in the race. Luiz has a lot of work to do, but we know the car is fast so it will be an exciting race for him. Hopefully he can come through to finish eighth and start pole for the Sunday race. Balanced against that is Davide's result - I'm so pleased for him and for everyone in Team AirAsia- we couldn't have hoped for a better start for our new team. We just need to keep Davide up there, and if he gets a good start there's no reason why he can't finish on the podium in our first ever race!"
Humphrey Corbett, Chief Engineer: "I'm obviously very pleased but do have a lot of mixed feelings at the moment. We had a brake problem which caused Luiz Razia to stop and we are investigating what happened with that so my sympathies are with Luiz and we will concentrate on resolving the issue and giving him the best chance of working his way up the grid in the race. I'm absolutely chuffed to bits about Davide's qualifying session. The whole team did brilliantly and I'm thrilled we achieved P3. We know both cars are quick, and now we have some work to do to think through the strategy for tomorrow to ensure both cars finish well."
Riad Asmat, Team Principal: "I am so happy. The result today shows that we have exactly the right people in our team - passionate people who have the heart and soul and the belief to achieve amazing results. I want to give my huge congratulations in particular to Phill and Humphrey who I know have done an awful lot to get this team to where we are in such a short space of time. This team is all about the people in it and they have all shown that if you truly want something, you can achieve it. It was unlucky for Luiz but I know that the whole team will give everything they have for the upcoming races. All in all it was a brilliant job by the team."
Davide Valsecchi: P3 Luiz Razia: P21
Race 1: Friday 11th February 2011 16:55hrs (local time +4hours GMT).
-source: team airasia