Hard work pays dividends for MalaysiaQi-Meritus.Mahara.com GP2 Asia effort
Friday, October 23, 2009 - Malaysian motorsport ambassadors MalaysiaQi-Meritus.Mahara.com started the first day of a two day test session at the newly built Yas Marina Circuit to prepare for the first race of the new GP2 Asia season during the 2009 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team has appointed Brazilian Diego Nunes and welcomed back Italian Luca Filippi to support the team's third season of GP2 Asia competition.
After the morning session the drivers were second and sixth overall with very quick times. They were especially fast in the second and third sectors of the lap and only 0.3s off of leader Davide Valsecchi. As it got darker during the second session between 4 PM and 7 PM, everyone was on different tyre strategy. Luca Filippi clocked a fastest time on old tyres with 1.52.842 and kept a fastest time later on new tyres while Diego Nunes finished third fastest of the session with 1.53.091.
Italian Luca Filippi commented, "I feel good with the team and I hope to be a winner this season. I'll do my best for the MalaysiaQi-Meritus.Mahara.com team and am pleased to be working with the team again even if it is a very new team this year. There is an interesting section at the beginning from turn one to the turn four tight hairpin with the grandstand literally overhead, giving great viewing for the spectators. It is an amazing facility. I hope there will be enough fast corners, otherwise the track will be too easy even if the 1.2 kilometre back straight should give an opportunity for some overtaking. It was a good day of work and I was fast straight away which was encouraging. So in the afternoon, we worked a lot on set-up. Tomorrow we need to do some work on pit stops as everyone is new working together. So we need to practice team work. We also have a race distance on our plate. It is easy to work on a great and amazing track like Yas."
Newcomer to the team, 23-year-old Brazilian Diego Nunes commented, "I did not know Abu Dhabi, even if I have already learned the track as carefully as I could on the simulator. I know where I made a mistake today and this is why I am only third. I liked my first day experience with the team. It makes no difference to me whether we're racing in the morning light or dark evening. The lights are very good. I have driven at night in Qatar and I have a bit of experience on the subject. The track is very different from what I expected."
President and Founder Peter Thompson commented: "A great start of the season for our two drivers with five months of work building the new team. We worked very hard to prepare this third season and it pays off well even if this is only the first day. Clearly everyone is doing their best to an great result on this incredible and astonishing facilities."
Sean Thompson, Technical Director and Team Principal added, "I can say I am relieved. I was confident. But the results of this first day speak volumes. Tomorrow we have another tactical plan to work on the mechanical balance of the cars. The two drivers are delivering their best, and this is very encouraging."