GP2

Asia: Abu Dhabi: Team AirAsia race 1 report

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Team AirAsia's first race of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series was an eventful debut for the new team, with Davide Valsecchi scoring an outstanding podium in third place and Luiz Razia recording a DNF after a start line collision brought his race to an early end.

Davide Valsecchi: P3
Luiz Razia: DNF

Davide Valsecchi (P3 / fastest lap: 1.38.997): "This is almost perfect. We made a good start, kept position and avoided any incidents. Throughout the race the car felt really quick and I was happy with its balance and setup on track. I feel that the team are doing a fantastic job - the pit stop today was faultless so thanks to everyone involved - we've really achieved an amazing result. Tomorrow we'll see what happens. It's tricky to overtake here but we hope to have every chance to fight for a race win."

Luiz Razia (DNF): "I was very unlucky. At the start of the race a car in front of me stalled and I had to swerve to avoid it. Another car came up beside me and left my line of sight blind so I had nowhere to go except the back of the stalled car, and I then hit the wall. The main thing is that I and all the drivers involved in the incident are ok, and while I am upset not to get the chance to compete today, it's a testament to the strength of the cars that they withstood that impact. I went to the medical centre to get checked over but I'm feeling fine now, if a little shaken, and I hope that my car can be repaired for tomorrow. The team have done a fantastic job and I'm really happy for Davide."

Humphrey Corbett, Chief Engineer: "We are obviously elated for Davide, and a podium in our first race is a fantastic result for the whole team. Sadly for Luiz someone stalled in front of him. His view was blocked and unfortunately he went straight into the back of the stranded car, hitting the barrier at some speed. Luckily he is unharmed but we're checking the damage on the car now and I think there will be some serious work to do to get it ready for tomorrow. The main aim is to get both cars ready for tomorrow and at the very least do some runs with Luiz so we can be ready for the Bahrain race next weekend."

Phill Spencer, Team Manager: "It's been a bitter sweet day today for Team AirAsia. Luiz had a massive crash early on, but thankfully he seems to be ok. Physically and mentally he is feeling fine and ready to race tomorrow which is great news. We will bend over backwards to get his car repaired in time for race two. We are really stoked for Davide and the whole team. This is a marvellous result for everyone. I have spoken to Tony Fernandes and he is over the moon and all in all it's a fantastic result for Team AirAsia, exceeding all our expectations."

Riad Asmat, Team Principal: "I am very happy with the podium today. Third is a great start for a new team, particularly one that has not been around for very long! Davide did an absolutely fantastic job and the whole team should be extremely proud. Unfortunately the start was not great for Luiz but this is racing, incidents happen, and tomorrow is a new day. Today is all about the team. We have shown commitment and passion. We are an Anglo- Malaysian team backed by Malaysians - a good mix of passionate people who truly believe in what they are doing, and it works."

Valsecchi will start sixth on the grid for tomorrow's race, following initial classification.

Razia will start from 25th position, all being well with the car.

Race two will begin at 17:08hrs (local time)

-source: team airasia

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