DPR UPBEAT AFTER STRONG FINISHES AT MONZA David Price Racing (DPR) were buoyed by spirited drives from Andy Soucek and Olivier Pla in Monza today. The sprint race at the ninth round of the GP2 Series brought Soucek his best finish of the season...
DPR UPBEAT AFTER STRONG FINISHES AT MONZA
David Price Racing (DPR) were buoyed by spirited drives from Andy Soucek and Olivier Pla in Monza today. The sprint race at the ninth round of the GP2 Series brought Soucek his best finish of the season so far, with the Austro-Spanish driver storming from 25th place on the grid to eighth place at the chequered flag. He then inherited seventh place after the disqualification of Giorgio Pantano. Pla also drove hard to finish 14th from a 23rd place grid slot, amended to 13th after Pantano's elimination.
The DPR team had worked late in to the night to prepare for today's race after Soucek crashed heavily with Zuber in the feature race, not only damaging his car but picking up a 10 place grid penalty which put him to the back row for the start. Pla, having been caught up in a rival's first lap incident, was also starting at the back.
Soucek had a great start, leaping into 17th place by the end of the first lap, while Pla was caught up in the melee through the first few corners but maintained position. DPR regular driver Soucek continued to make up ground in the early stages moving steadily forward and by half distance was lying in 11th place. Bakkerud's stand-in for this race, Pla, was also on the move, improving to 19th at the midpoint of the race.
Soucek maintained a consistent pace staying with the pack, gaining two more places to finish in a well-deserved eighth position. Pla also carried the momentum through to the second half of his first 2007 GP2 race, with a creditable 14th place finish.
He was pleased to have his best finish after a DNF from the race yesterday, saying "We hadn't had the best weekend leading up to the feature race, but we made some positive changes after qualifying and the car was better in the race. I just pushed too hard and ended up crashing out. I have to thank the DPR crew for working hard to repair the car in time for today's race. At least we produced a good finish after all that and at last we're making progress. The car felt good and that has grown my confidence, and I was able to take quite a few cars on my way through the field. I'm happy with the outcome. Ending up seventh was good, but I would have liked to have had a point!"
Pla said of the weekend, "I just ended up with nowhere to go on the opening lap yesterday and ended up stranded in the gravel. Race over. That meant that I had no race data for today and hadn't done a long run to get more experience so that made my job tougher, especially not having raced this car for so long. We had a good run though and completed the race distance, so it was better, but starting so far back was always going to make it difficult. I enjoyed my weekend, it was good to be back in the GP2 paddock!"
David Price, Team Principal, DPR, added, "Andy and Olivier both put in strong performances and it's given us the lift we needed. The DPR boys worked long and hard last night to get Andy's car ready, so his brilliant start and racing from 25th to 8th were a welcome reward for this. In the circumstances, it was as much as we could ask from Olivier, particularly with him not having any mileage yesterday. We now just need to carry this momentum to Spa."
The penultimate round of the 2007 GP2 Series leaves little time for the team to rest, with the tenth event, supporting the Belgian Formula Grand Prix, taking DPR to the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit next weekend.