It was a difficult day today for Racing Engineering at the Istanbul Park circuit when unforeseen mechanical problems afflicted triple race winner Javier Villa whilst new signing Marcos Martinez is still finding his feet in the very competitive...
It was a difficult day today for Racing Engineering at the Istanbul Park circuit when unforeseen mechanical problems afflicted triple race winner Javier Villa whilst new signing Marcos Martinez is still finding his feet in the very competitive world of GP2.
This morning's Free Practice took place in high temperatures under a blazing Turkish sun with Javier looking to set a good time whilst Marcos concentrated on learning more about his Racing Engineering Dallara. Unfortunately for Javi his practice was curtailed by gearbox problems that restricted him to only seven laps, less than half the amount the other drivers were able to compete, and which prevented him from pushing hard. This lack of track and setup time saw Javi set a time of 1m 37.716, only twentieth fastest. Meanwhile Marcos was able to have an extended run in his car, chalking up 14 laps and setting a time less than half a second slower than Javier.
Not surprisingly the curtailing of his Free Practice had it's affect on Javier's qualifying and desperate to set a good time he spun on his third lap and his engine stopped. Unable to restart his stricken car Javi was forced to sit out the rest of qualifying. Marcos however was able to continue racking up the kilometers and continuing his steep learning-curve. At the end of qualifying the two Racing Engineering cars in their Repsol/Telefonica colours will start from 23rd and 24th places on the grid with newcomer Marcos just edging his more experienced but unlucky team mate.
Tomorrow's race will be difficult for both drivers starting from so far back but the Istanbul Park circuit is noted for having a number of good overtaking places and with Javi's legendary prowess at fighting his way through the field a good result is still on the cards.
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon (team principal): "Well, qualifying definitely wasn't good and our free practice didn't help in that respect. Once more a part on the car prevented us from working on the car's set -up in the morning session. Therefore qualifying was just a result of the free practice problem. I am happy with Marcos' performance, he did a good job. Nevertheless it will be difficult tomorrow for sure, but with so many cars going off and spinning today, I am sure the race will be very interesting."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "During free practice I suffered from a problem with the gearbox, but for qualifying everything was fine and we were able to push. On my third timed lap I spun and the engine stopped, I couldn't start it gain and the session was therefore quickly over for me. We start from the back tomorrow, but the track here is wide so overtaking is possible. I'm hoping for a good race tomorrow."
Marcos Martinez (driver car 15): "For me this was actually the first real contact with the car after not having been able to do many laps in Hungary. Therefore I think it was quite good to be just 2.5 seconds off the best time in free practice. The car felt really good. We then made some changes on the set-up of the car for qualifying and the car was more nervous and I am therefore starting 23rd."