An Exercise In Consolidation
For Arden International, the 2011 GP2 Final will be remembered as a weekend of unfulfilled potential. Its drivers staged strong recoveries from the back of the field in today’s sprint event, a curtain-raiser to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the final result didn’t reflect the pace the team showed at the weekend’s dawn.
Having qualified third for the feature race, Josef Kral was shuffled towards the back of the pack yesterday after a spin and a collision delayed him. Starting 20th today, he gained three places almost immediately before a spin at Turn Eight dropped him to 25th in the 26-strong field. After that he lapped quickly and consistently to move up to 12th place during a race in which several rivals were penalised for regulatory infringements.
Team-mate Simon Trummer was sent to the back of the grid, for causing an accident during yesterday’s race, but gained two places on the opening lap and then followed Kral’s lead, progressing steadily through the field to finish 15th.
“I didn’t make the best of starts, but was able to pass a few cars through the first few corners and felt optimistic that I could get something from the race. When I reached the Turn Eight chicane, however, somebody clipped me from behind and I spun, so I had to start all over again from an even lower position. The car was good, though, and I managed to pass about six cars within the next few laps. As the race progressed, I gained further ground as other drivers received drive-through penalties, or made mistakes. I had to ease up a bit during the second part of the race, to preserve my tyres, but in the end I was happy enough with 12th, given the circumstances. It’s just a pity I was unable to build on the speed I showed during qualifying. That’s life, though, and I feel I have made good progress with Arden this season. I would like to thank the whole team for doing an awesome job.”
“I didn’t really expect much, starting from last, so the objective was to evolve a better set-up and put into practice some of the lessons I learned from race one. The car certainly felt better than it did yesterday and I was able to pull off quite a few passing manoeuvres. I tried to learn a bit about race management, pushing when the moment was right and looking after my tyres over a long stint. Towards the end I began to push hard again and overall I feel this has been a positive weekend. I have learned many things that will serve me well in my future career and it has definitely been a good experience.”