A tough learning curve for the DAMS rookies
The DAMS team did not enjoy a lot of success in the Abu Dhabi final, the last GP2 race of the season. Rio Haryanto and Nigel Melker had a complicated debut but showed promise in the races. Problems began in qualifying on Friday as the two rookies had difficulty getting the best out their tyres. Nigel looked on target for a place in the top 10, but a few small mistakes dropped him back to twelfth on the grid while his team-mate lined up nineteenth.
In the first race, Melker's hopes were dashed when he flat-spotted his tyres at the start and he slipped back to fifteenth place. Rio Haryanto put on a good performance and fought his way up to twelfth at the finish.
On Sunday, the Indonesian was caught up in an incident at the start and had to pit for a nose change dropping him down to the back of the field. His Dutch team-mate didn't have much luck either as he was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. He was not a whit discouraged and his twentieth place was a poor reflection of his talent.
Loic David, General Manager: "The team did a good job but despite Romain Grosjean's data our two rookies had a tough learning curve in GP2, above all in getting the best out of their tyres. We didn't really have enough time to work with them, in particular in qualifying, and also it was Nigel's first contact with the team this weekend. Nonetheless, we liked both him and Rio because of their fighting spirit and they showed promising potential. So we've drawn positive conclusions from the final meeting."
Race 1 : P12
Race 2 : P24
"First of all, my qualifying performance wasn't very good, and I had only one clear lap on my second set of new rubber. Then I started the first race a bit cautiously as I wanted to nurse my tyres. I wanted to finish to gain experience: in addition, I was able to fight my way up through the field. In the second heat I saw an opening and I went for it. But I locked up the wheels and broke the front wing when I clipped another car. I had to pit to have the nose changed. After that I couldn't push as the car was slightly damaged. Overall, it's been a good learning experience and I'm happy with it. I hope it'll help me for next year."
Race 1 : P15
Race 2 : P20
"Overall, it was pretty tough. Everything was new to me, the circuit, the team and the car. I had to get used to all that and it wasn't really easy. My qualifying performance wasn't all that bad, and I wasn't very lucky with the red flag. I made a few mistakes but they were due to my lack of experience. In race one I had to get used to tyre degradation. I was better in race two but unfortunately a slight movement at the start resulted in a penalty. After that I got into a good rhythm. I learned a lot this weekend and I'm very happy with my collaboration with the team. We worked hard together and I can't wait for next season to start."