DPR DRIVERS FORCED TO RETIRE FROM BARCELONA GP2
The second race of the Barcelona round of the GP2 Series saw two unfortunate retirements for DPR with Andy Soucek forced out on the first lap with accident damage and Christian Bakkerud racing to half distance but having no option but to abandon his pursuit of championship points with severe pain in his back.
Bakkerud started from 12th place and Soucek in 14th, their finish positions from yesterday's feature race. The field of 600 bhp GP2 machines revved high and stormed off the grid for the 25 lap sprint with Bakkerud and Soucek on the inside line. After an aborted start the first time which saw two cars forced to start from the pit lane after stalling on the grid Bakkerud made a good start and was soon into the top ten.
Soucek also made a strong start improving on his grid slot, but was caught up in the melee of the first lap and suffered damage from a second corner incident which ended with his retirement from the race. As the race settled down Bakkerud held ninth place and was showing good race pace, but increasing discomfort from a trapped nerve in his back forced him to retire from the race as it reached midpoint.
Bakkerud said of his Barcelona races, "We didn't qualify as well as we expected which was a combination of myself and the car. However, we had a good race yesterday considering that we started in 23rd and that after about seven laps I had a trapped nerve in my back. As the race progressed the pain increased, until the point that I couldn't speak on the radio. I had some treatment on it last night and took some painkillers before today's race, but when they wore off the pain returned and we decided it was better to stop racing and turn our attentions to being ready for Monaco. It was disappointing for us, but we showed that we have the pace and the potential. We'll look to Monaco to turn this into points."
Soucek summed up his efforts, "We started well with a good pace in the practice session although we weren't able to carry this through in qualifying as I was struggling for grip. For yesterday's race we aimed to achieve a good rhythm and I was able to turn consistent laps, but we couldn't find the time in the car that we needed, particularly opting for the late pitstop strategy. At first I wasn't too sure about that, but the team were right to do this as I did make up some places and was able to finish 14th which was a better grid position for the sprint race. "Today's race started well as I was up to ninth after the first corner but coming into the second I made a mistake and was late on the brakes, ending up making contact with Christian and damaging my car so I couldn't continue. I was feeling much more comfortable in the car this weekend, and reckon that we could have scored our first points, but that's not the way it turned out."
David Price, Principal, David Price Racing, commented after the Sprint race, "Although we didn't have success in the races today we're showing that we have the potential. Andy was caught up in the first lap melee and there's just no time in this race to make repairs. Christian was driving well at the start and holding his own, but his back pain returned and we decided to bring him in as we didn't want him to damage himself further. We expect him to be fit for Monaco in two week's time."
Today's GP2 race was won by Timo Glock, with Javier Villa second and Lucas di Grassi in third place. The next round of the GP2 Series takes place at the Monaco Grand Prix, the jewel in the crown of Formula One, and one of the most challenging events for the GP2 drivers, with the famed street course winding through the Principality. The weekend starts on Thursday 24 May with the first practice session, continues on Friday morning with a second practice session and qualifying. The 45 lap feature race, with its mandatory pitstop, will be staged on Saturday 26 May at 2.00pm local time.