Javier Villa celebrates debut in GP2 car

Javier Villa, current leader of the Spanish Formula 3 Championship, celebrated his debut in a GP2 car today at the Paul Ricard track. The young Spaniard quickly learned how to handle this powerful car and adapt to this new track.

For Javier, who so far was only behind the steering wheel of an F3 car, it was a big step up the ladder when he fastened the seat belt of the Dallara GP2 car. Javier was very excited about his first outing in Paul Ricard and with such a powerful car in his hands. The Racing Engineering driver found his rhythm quickly and worked on getting to know the car better every lap. Times were obviously not of importance in the morning thsession, but nevertheless the young driver from Asturias was the 14 fastest out of 21 drivers on track. This performance of Javier is quite impressive given the fact that a lot of drivers, who have run the entire 2005 season in the GP2 Series, tested in Paul Ricard as well. In the afternoon Javier worked more on the set-up of the car and when he felt confident about marking a good lap time, the Racing Engineering crew mounted a set of new tyres. However, Javier Villa was not able to improve his lap time as a red flag on the track stopped him right on his fast lap. The afternoon session saw Javier in 13th position after having finished 103 laps during this test.

Javier Villa stated: "Everything went really well and I am very happy with my first time in a GP2 car and in Paul Ricard. The times I was able to make were not bad at all and it's a pity I wasn't able to finish a lap on new tyres when there was a red flag. It was a very interesting experience. Step by step I got used to the car and the different driving experience compared to a Formula 3 car, as there is quite some difference in acceleration and braking. I think we did a good job today and now I will enjoy the impressions a bit more. But then I have to change the chip as this weekend I am racing in Jerez and my goal is increasing my lead in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship."

John Gentry, technical director, commented: "We had absolutely no problem with the car today and everything went fine with the driver. He is very mature for a young man and asks for what he wants. I think we did a lot of good work towards setting up the car for him and lap times were never our main priority."

Alfonso de Orleáns-Borbón, team principal, added: "I am impressed by Javi's first time not only in a GP2 car but also at this track. We have to keep in mind that about half the drivers today did one entire season of GP2. In that respect Javi really did an excellent job. But before thinking about next year, Javi has to go back to Spain and win the Formula 3 races in Jerez this weekend. This is definitely his number one priority at the moment."