Luiz Razia gained eight positions to finish in the top ten in the scorching GP2 race today at Monza, aided by a fantastic pit stop by the Caterham Team AirAsia pitcrew.
After a chaotic start to the 30 lap race both Caterham Team AirAsia cars completed the race, but unfortunately Davide Valsecchi was called in for an unscheduled nose change after suffering damage in the chaotic start to the race. The Italian set some blistering lap times in front of his home crowd and finally finished P20 after making two pit stops.
With just one more Sunday race left of the season, the team's competitive pace and securing a points finish will solidify sixth place in the GP2 Teams' Championship, an outstanding achievement in its debut season.
Phill Spencer: "Luiz made a good start and overtook a few people but unfortunately he was tangled up with other cars in the first chicane. Davide also suffered at the start and clipped his front wing, bringing him in for an unscheduled pit stop. Which cost him thirty seconds, forcing him to play catch up for the rest of the race. He put in some very fast lap times compared to the cars in front so it is a shame he couldn't finish higher in his home race. Luiz had a strong race with good pace to finish tenth from 18th on the grid, so we know we have two good cars for tomorrow. We know what we need to do to fine tune the cars, and with Luiz starting P10 he has every chance of finishing in the points."
Luiz Razia (Best time 1:34.185 / Best Lap: 16 / P10): "I got a good start and gained a couple of positions but then in the first lap I lost a place which ultimately made a difference to my finish position, so I am little frustrated about that. But anyway the team did a great pit stop and I pushed really hard and as others pitted late, I gained positions and set some very quick laps. It's a shame we could not fight for eighth position but starting from tenth on the grid is a good enough position, hopefully we can do a good job and finish in the points, maybe even a podium finish."
Davide Valsecchi (Best time 1:33.837 / Best Lap: 24 / P20): "It is a big shame we couldn't finish the race on top today especially because we had the pace. We had a good start but then we were unlucky in the first chicane and I got some damage to the left side of the front wing. I could feel the downforce drop off in the straight so we had to come in for an additional pit stop. I was so disappointed but I kept focused so we could learn as much as we could from this race. It is unfortunate but we can still have a great race tomorrow. I will be aggressive and the car will be quick like the good times!"
Humphrey Corbett: "Both Luiz and Davide touched other cars at the beginning of the race, Luiz was able to continue but unfortunately it was a little bit more serious for Davide and we had to bring him in - from then on it was damage limitation really. Thereafter we were hoping for a safety car so we could gain time for Davide's second compulsory pit stop but unfortunately it didn't happen and we brought him in again on lap 18. Looking at the positives, his race pace was very competitive in the final stages and he finished P20. Luiz did a very good job from 18th on the grid. Both drivers were happy with the balance so there will not be too much changed for the early race tomorrow. It will again be very hot but we will go for it and hopefully score some points so we can hold onto our sixth place position in the Teams' Championship."
Sunday race: 1030hrs 21 laps