NO JOY FOR DPR IN MONZA 8 September 2007.../Both David Price Racing (DPR) drivers retired from today's feature race at the Monza round of the GP2 Series. Olivier Pla, temporary replacement for an injured Christian Bakkerud, was a victim of a...
NO JOY FOR DPR IN MONZA
8 September 2007.../Both David Price Racing (DPR) drivers retired from today's feature race at the Monza round of the GP2 Series. Olivier Pla, temporary replacement for an injured Christian Bakkerud, was a victim of a first lap incident ahead of him which forced him into the gravel and unable to rejoin the track. Andy Soucek was having a strong race, running in eighth place until running wide into the gravel and sliding back onto the track the car speared into the car of Andreas Zuber.
The team has struggled to find the form of last season and having recorded a podium finish at this track last year is eager to improve their performance. However, Soucek suffered engine electronic problems at the start of the qualifying session, resulting in him sitting this out, and with no qualifying time, he was at the back of the grid for the Feature race.
At the start Soucek was able to capitalise on first lap incidents which sidelined three rivals, picking his way through strewn cars to emerge in 15th place. With the safety car deployed after the opening lap incidents the team opted to pit for the mandatory tyre change at the first opportunity on the second lap. A quick stop from the DPR crew put Soucek back out without any loss of track position, although gaining ground as others ahead had not pitted. A second safety car period played into Soucek's hands with the DPR entry lying in 8th place when the field returned to green flag racing and potential for a points paying finish position. Unfortunately a small mistake from Soucek, running wide and into the gravel, ended in disaster when the DPR driver returned to the track. The car veered into the path of Zuber, with substantial damage to Soucek's car and an end to his race. Following the race Soucek was penalised 10 grid places for tomorrow's race for causing the incident.
It was always going to be difficult for Pla, returning to GP2 after a season away from the Series, and only having limited track time to familiarise himself with the car. After the qualifying session, Pla lined up for the start in 23rd place. He made a good start, narrowly avoiding a stalled car on the grid, but any benefit on the run down to the first corner was negated shortly afterwards with a spin ahead of the French DPR driver forcing him to take to the gravel to avoid hitting tangled cars. Sadly Pla wasn't able to rejoin the track from the gravel trap and he had no alternative but to abandon the DPR car, a premature end to his return to GP2 racing.
David Price, Team Principal, DPR, expressed his frustrations, saying "We seem to be attracting problems this season. Olivier was unlucky to end up beached in the gravel and not getting in a race distance, which will hurt his chances for tomorrow as well. Andy looked on course for a points finish, but like many others more experienced than him, he was caught out by this track. Many other times running wide would just lose you a few places, but not this time. We'll keep our heads high, get the cars put back together ready for tomorrow and put in our best efforts to do better in the sprint race."
The Monza weekend is round nine of eleven, with only Spa Francorchamps and Valencia remaining after tomorrow's sprint race.