TOUGH RACING FOR DPR IN MAGNY COURS Qualifying for the first of the two races in the fourth round of the 2007 GP2 Series at Magny Cours was tough for DPR, with Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud lining up in 24th and 26th place on the grid after...
TOUGH RACING FOR DPR IN MAGNY COURS
Qualifying for the first of the two races in the fourth round of the 2007 GP2 Series at Magny Cours was tough for DPR, with Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud lining up in 24th and 26th place on the grid after the session. Although Bakkerud had qualified 18th fastest, a ten place penalty from the race in Monaco put him to the back of the field today. After a race full of drama and incidents, Soucek finished in 13th place while Bakkerud retired from accident damage.
A startline incident between the two iSport cars and an horrific accident for Ernesto Viso on the opening lap of the race quickly brought out the safety car. DPR, as with most teams, opted to use this to make the mandatory pitstop for new tyres with Bakkerud rejoining in 16th place and Soucek two places back in 18th. After the field had toured the circuit behind the safety car for a few laps, red flags were shown and the race stopped to allow the medical team to safely extricate Venezuelan Viso from his racecar..
An hour later the race was restarted with 37 laps remaining. Both DPR drivers made strong, rolling, restarts, with Bakkerud lying 11th after five laps and Soucek in 14th. Both drivers were pushing hard, but Soucek slipped back a place in the early stages. As the race edged towards half distance Bakkerud battled hard with Kohei Hirate, but was forced to pit after a racing incident, which dropped him back down the field. He left the pits to rejoin the race but on reaching the end of the pitlane was unable to engage gear. This delayed his return to green flag racing, but when he was up to racing speed damage to the steering arm of his DPR GP2 car was apparent and too severe for the Dane to continue, forcing a return to the pits and retirement.
At mid distance Soucek was running in 13th place and defending hard from Roldan Rodriguez. With tyrewear high at this circuit, the young DPR driver was coping well with the challenges of racing hard on tyres which were quickly degrading. He maintained positioned as the race drew to a close to take the chequered flag in 13th place.
David Price, Team Principal, DPR, said of the weekend so far, "We're still pushing hard to get results but not quite getting there. Christian was up to 11th in the race and I think he could have had a top ten finish, perhaps even scraped into the points if he hadn't tangled with Nakajima. That was a bit unfortunate as Christian's wing mirror had dropped and he didn't see him coming up on the inside with a bit of a lunging overtaking manoeuvre and this ultimately ended his race. We need to work hard on qualifying as Christian is racing better than he is qualifying, so he's making it much harder for himself.
"Andy had a great opening practice session, running strongly in the top three during the majority of it, just slipping to seventh at the end. But then in qualifying he was only 18th quickest. Adding the Monaco penalty put him right at the back and a huge task ahead. Under the circumstances he did well to survive the numerous incidents and improve his position over the course of the race, but the tyrewear was high and he was struggling with the rears by the end of it. I hope that Andy has a chance to get in to the top ten tomorrow from his 13th place start."
The shorter, Sprint distance GP2 race rounds off the Magny Cours weekend for the DPR team tomorrow morning. Soucek will start in 13th place and Bakkerud will line up in 20th.