A clutch problem occurring at the crucial moment of the start played a vital role in the outcome of Javier Villa's first race of the season, as he finally finished 14th in the first 2008 GP2 Series feature race. Javi started from 9th on the grid...
A clutch problem occurring at the crucial moment of the start played a vital role in the outcome of Javier Villa's first race of the season, as he finally finished 14th in the first 2008 GP2 Series feature race.
Javi started from 9th on the grid and was facing the race with big expectations after feeling really at ease with his pace in yesterday's qualifying session. However just as the lights went off, the Spaniard's clutch didn't responded as expected, as a result the car just moved a few centimeters and stalled. Villa reacted quickly and as the car was moving, albeit slowly, he was able to restart the engine and continue, losing nine places in the process, going from ninth on the grid to eighteenth in the first meters of the race.
The Racing Engineering driver recovered several places through the quite chaotic first laps, getting as high as 12th when the safety car was deployed to control the race. This meant that almost all the cars headed to the pits in order to make their mandatory tyre change. Once there Javi suddenly lost all the places he had just recovered as, first, he had to wait while the team serviced Giorgio's car, which had entered the pits a few seconds ahead, and second, a wheel on his car was stuck meaning yet more time lost. As a result when Javi was back to the track he was again 18th and, even worse, he soon realised that his race pace wasn't good enough to allow any major recovery.
The remaining laps didn't have much to report for Javier who crossed the finish line 14th, the place from which he will be starting tomorrow's sprint race. Javi hopes that the clutch problem will be fixed and then he can try to make a good start in order to be able to fight for a top six position and score his first points of the season.
Javier Villa's own words:
"I had great expectations for today's race as I thought I'd be fast, but at the start I had a clutch problem, it didn't reach the 'biting point', the car moved and stalled. I bump started it as it was moving but dropped down to 18th. In the first two laps I took advantage of the chaos ahead and I was up to 12th when the safety car was sent out because of the accidents, and when I arrived at my pit Giorgio was already there so I had to wait. Next a wheel was stuck so I lost a lot of time and went back to the track again in 18th. I then found I didn't have the pace, I was struggling to stay with the cars ahead and I finished 14th. For tomorrow the first thing will be to set up the clutch, find the 'biting point' and then do a good start in order to still finish in the top six to score the first points of the season and get some boost for the next races."