Carlin GP2 press release
Chaotic race in spa
Carlin GP2 drivers Max Chilton and Mikhail Aleshin endured an eventful outing at Spa-Francorchamps today, following a chaotic race around the rain soaked circuit. Chilton managed to finish 15th despite making two pit stops and being a lap down. Aleshin meanwhile failed to finish after being hit from behind by another car during a safety car period.
Starting from 14th and 16th respectively, both Aleshin and Chilton had some progress to make as the first race of the weekend got underway at Spa this afternoon. Chilton made a good start and soon found himself directly behind his Russian team mate, with Aleshin choosing the inside line and Chilton the outside at the first corner. Chilton lost out in the melee and ran out of room, which forced him down to 19th at the end of the first lap while Aleshin had climbed to 13th.
Chilton continued to make progress however and was 16th by lap 11. By now the pit stop window was open, but all the drivers were waiting until the much anticipated rain hit the circuit. Sure enough the rain started to fall around lap 13, with Chilton pitting at the perfect time to take full advantage of the switch to wet tyres.
Aleshin stopped for grooved rubber just a lap later and the returned to the track in 12th, with Chilton 16th. A safety car period on lap 15 suddenly slowed down the field, with the powerful GP2 cars reduced to an almost crawl in the wet and cold conditions. That created an issue in itself as several cars went into engine safe mode due to the low temperatures and were running with reduced engine power.
Aleshin was one of the first drivers to suffer from such a problem during the safety car period, with his sudden reduction in speed catching out Stefan Coletti who made heavy contact with the back of Aleshin’s car. An innocent victim of the incident, Aleshin was immediately out of the race.
Chilton was about to suffer the same issue, with such reduced power that he struggled to keep up with the rest of the field behind the safety car. A quick pit stop helped remedy the situation and Chilton was able to continue, although a lap down.
The decision to rejoin the field turned out to be a wise one, as several other cars suffered the same problem or crashed out with Chilton climbing back up the order. At the chequered flag Chilton was 15th, the position he will take on the race two grid tomorrow. Aleshin will line up 20th after failing to finish today’s race.
Reflecting on his race, Chilton said, “Considering I was a lap down and made two pit stops, I can’t believe I still finished 15th. It’s a pity we had the problem with engine power as we could have finished higher up the order, but it obviously affected other drivers as well. We’ll just have to focus on doing our best from 15th tomorrow, and learning as much as possible.”