GP2

Asia: Bahrain: Javier Villa race one report

Today's Feature Race at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain did not go as well for Javier Villa as he had hoped for, starting from eighth on the grid Javier was in ninth place at the end of the 34 lap race. Things looked good at the start of the...

Today's Feature Race at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain did not go as well for Javier Villa as he had hoped for, starting from eighth on the grid Javier was in ninth place at the end of the 34 lap race.

Things looked good at the start of the race with Javier's Super Nova Dallara making a great start from the 4th row to gain two places as the cars entered the first corner. As the cars streamed around the circuit on their opening lap Javi was looking very positive as he sat on the gearbox of Rodriguez moving left and right as he looked for a way to pass the car ahead. As the cars began the second lap Javi was still attacking Rodriguez, just 0.6 of a second behind, whilst pulling away slightly from the chasing Van Der Garde. Lap 4 saw Javi still looking for a way past the Piquet Sports car with the gap still 0.6 of a second whilst the advantage over the seventh placed Van Der Garde was now one second.

As the cars started the fifth lap Rodriguez made slight contact with the car ahead causing him to momentarily leave the track, in an instant Javi took advantage to move up to fifth place. Javi was now chasing the fourth-placed car of Mortara with the recovering Rodriguez in sixth spot as the cars completed their 6th lap. By lap 8 there was a fierce battle for fourth between Mortara, Javi and Rodriguez with the three cars only separated by a few tenths. Javi now began to put extra pressure on Mortara, closing up to within three tenths whilst pulling away slightly from Rodriguez and opening out the gap to one second. One lap later the gap was still less than half a second to the car ahead and Javi had pulled away another two tenths from Rodriguez.

After pushing Mortara hard for several laps Javi now took a breather and on lap 13 the gap between 4th and 5th was 1.2 seconds with Rodriguez just under a second further down the road in 6th. Javi made his mandatory pitstop on lap 15 and resumed the track alongside Perez and as the cars raced around the track Perez veered into Javi causing wheel to wheel contact fortunately without apparent harm to either car. Javi was now lying in 10th on lap 16 and looking to close the gap to the car ahead with Perez right behind him.

On lap 19 Perez made a determined effort to pass Javi on the outside in the final corner but the young Spaniard refused to be intimidated and he kept his place. However as the cars raced down the pit straight Perez slipstreamed Javi and out-braked him into the first corner demoting the Super Nova driver to 11th. Javi continued to press on but he gradually fell away from Perez whilst holding a comfortable gap ahead of the pursuing Petrov.

Javi gained two further places as cars ahead made their pitstops but at the finish he was in 9th place just over three seconds behind Perez and six seconds ahead of Petrov. An indication of his pace is that his fastest lap, 1m 44,490s, was the 6th fastest of the top 16 finishers. Javi will start tomorrow's Sprint Race from 9th on the grid and he will be looking to turn his obvious speed on the Sakhir circuit into a points scoring finish.

Javier Villa's own words: "I had a good start, I was soon sixth and then I went by Roldan and I was fifth and pushing Mortara so the race was really looking good after just a few laps. But several cars running at the back started to do their pit stops pretty soon and out team, noticing that they were lapping faster, decided to call me in earlier than expected. There the race went a bit wrong for me, I pitted too early and also lost 2 or 3 seconds in the pits as there was some traffic through the pit lane when we were leaving it. At the end, when everybody did their pit stops, we were back to ninth even if nobody passed me on the track. A shame as Mortara, who was right ahead of me before the pit stop, finished third, and our pace was good, in the same tenth as the third fastest lap. Now it is time to prepare for tomorrow's race, being the Sprint it will be a matter of pushing from the start in order to try scoring as many points as possible."

-credit: javiervilla.com

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Javier Villa