Javier Villa has continued his recent run of good form in the qualifying session of the GP2 Asia Series round in Malaysia. The Spanish driver has taken a place on the third row of the grid for tomorrow's Feature Race, after scoring the fifth best...
Javier Villa has continued his recent run of good form in the qualifying session of the GP2 Asia Series round in Malaysia. The Spanish driver has taken a place on the third row of the grid for tomorrow's Feature Race, after scoring the fifth best time in a qualifying session where the sudden appearance of rain, although only briefly, complicated the work of all the drivers and teams.
The day had begun quietly enough with a free practice session run without any interruptions and with only a couple of yellow flags. There Villa, and his team Super Nova, went through their scheduled program based on fine tuning the car setup for the race. Javier completed 16 laps scoring the 11th fastest laptime and finishing satisfied with the feedback from the steering wheel of the Dallara on Sepang's circuit.
The qualifying session proved to be a lot more stressful due to the appearance of the rain just as the drivers were in the pitlane ready to make their first attempt at a fast lap. With the arrival of the first rain drops on the track the uncertainty about which were the right tyres to fit was high, and Super Nova chose to wait a few minutes to see how the situation would develop. It was a decision that turned out to be the right one as the rain stopped almost immediately so that Villa could go out on track with his first set of fresh tyres and set a good time, whereas several of his rivals had wasted their first attempt after going out either with rain tyres or with old rubber.
Given that the threat of rain was persisting, Javier returned quickly to the track with his second set of new tyres in order to set his final time for the grid. In spite of being one of the first drivers to make his second attempt and, in addition, achieving his best time on the third lap instead of on the first when fresh tyres are at their most effective on Sepang's long track, Villa finished the session with a time of 1.45.649, just a little more than two tenths from the pole and good enough to give him a place on the third row of the grid giving him a good chance to fight for the top positions in the Feature Race tomorrow.
Javier Villa's own words: "It was a difficult qualifying because when we were all ready in the pitlane it began to rain, although it was only a few drops, some people started going out with rain tyres and others with old slicks. We waited a bit to see what would happen and six minutes later I went out on new slicks. I was one of the first ones out with this configuration and I did a good time. Then we quickly put the second set on, although normally the best times are set at the very end of the session, but with the risk of rain we had to push soon. At the end I am fifth, just two tenths from pole and I believe that it was a good time since, as always, the important thing is to be in the first three rows to be able to have options in the race."