It was a good day's work for the two Racing Engineering drivers in what was their maiden run on the difficult Belgian track of Spa Francorchamps. Without making any mistakes and improving on each lap, Javier Villa ended...
It was a good day's work for the two Racing Engineering drivers in what was their maiden run on the difficult Belgian track of Spa Francorchamps. Without making any mistakes and improving on each lap, Javier Villa ended up taking a spot on the seventh row for the feature race, while Marcos will be starting tomorrow from 25th position after running steadily throughout the day.
Both Javier Villa and Marcos Martinez completed a good number of laps in today's two practice sessions, focusing on learning a track that was totally new for both of them. However they couldn't do as much as they would have liked in the morning free practice session that was red flagged following an accident to another competitor. Unfortunately this meant that part of the work planned for this first session would have to be carried out in the crucial 30 minutes of qualification.
On a track such as Spa, the longest of the series at more than 7 kilometres in length, the number of laps you can do in every session is, logically, less than usual and this means always having a lot of traffic problems. Add to this the fact that the track length also has quite an influence on tyre wear, with optimum grip in their two first laps out of the pits only, the challenge for the two Spanish drivers at the wheel of their Repsol and Telefonica backed Dallaras wasn't easy. So bearing all that in mind their performances were satisfying. Javi managed to improve his morning's best lap time by one and a half seconds, gaining 14th position, while Marcos achieved his main target, to run as much as possible, not making mistakes and gathering experience in driving the GP2 car on the difficult track in the Ardennes forest.
In this way, the team achieved their first goal of the weekend: to give the drivers the maximum possible track time in order to learn a track that was new to both of them and where experience is key to getting a good result. Indeed a good result is something they will be looking for tomorrow in the feature race; with 26 laps this will be quite a challenge, especially as regards tyre wear, a factor that could be crucial to the final outcome.
Alfonso D'Orleans (team principal):" With both our drivers never having raced on this track, we knew they both had to first become familiar with this challenging circuit. For Marcos the goal was to learn as much as possible, and he did that well. As for Javi, he will start 14th and if everything goes well tomorrow, we should see him in the points."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "In the morning, even if I didn't know the track, I was going well and I could still improve by a few tenths but the session was red flagged. In qualifying I pushed and ended up 14th, far better than the morning times. It's a track that will be difficult for the race, the tyres only work well for two laps, and then there is a big loss of grip. That will make the race more difficult; let's see where we can finish."
Marcos Martinez (driver car 15): "In free practice I have been learning the track but then out went the red flag when I was starting my second spell and I couldn't run as much as I'd have liked. In qualifying I didn't get a good position as the car was pretty nervous at the back and I couldn't push harder. Let's hope we can finish the race tomorrow and improve the car's setup.