Mixed fortunes in Imola

The first Formula One supporting GP2 qualifying session of the year was a mixed bag for Racing Engineering, with Adam Carroll bringing the car home in a solid seventh place this afternoon in Imola, with teammate Javier Villa struggling home at the rear of the grid. Adam's drive was a strong improvement over a disappointing first round in Valencia, setting almost the same time as championship leader Nelson Piquet today. Adam finished with a time of 1:33.450, just seven tenths of a second off Gimmi Bruni's pole position.

By contrast, Javi spent the session still coming to terms with the track, as the team expected, but still managed to improve his best lap by more than three seconds over his free practice run earlier in the morning. The session was a huge pick me up for the team, who can take heart from the clear improvement this afternoon over a trying winter testing period and first race.

Speaking for the whole team, Alfonso de Orleans stated: "Adam did an amazing qualifying, and should have got pole except he was distracted by some people on the track," to which Adam jokingly added: "Yeah, and there was a good looking girl in the grandstand!"

Alfonso, laughing, continued: "But he did a very good qualifying, we're back to where we should have been, and the boys did really good work as usual, with John [Gentry, Adam's race engineer] doing a particularly good job today. Javi is still learning the tracks, which we expected, but I think by the end of the race tomorrow he'll have learnt the track well, and by Sunday he will show us some pretty good racing."

On a more serious note, Adam Carroll added: It wasn't too bad -- it was a good, solid improvement from where we were in Valencia, we're closer to the front and in a decent spot, so we can have a good race from there. I think we've made some positive improvements to the car and it's closer to where we need it to be, so all round it's been a good effort."

Javier Villa noted: It was a bit difficult for me today because I didn't know the track, and only got 13 laps in practice and 13 more in qualifying. Considering that it was not so bad, because we were more than three seconds faster than in free practice and I feel more comfortable on the circuit. I know there is work to do, because I need to find 1.5 seconds, but tomorrow the race is long, and it's more laps for me."

-re-