Mansell Scores First Championship Point in Wet Race Lottery Greg Mansell ( ...
Mansell Scores First Championship Point in Wet Race Lottery
Greg Mansell (#3):
Start Position: 15th Race Position: 10th
Miguel Molina (#4):
Start position: 11th Race Position: 14th
A dramatic second race of the opening weekend of the 2009 World Series by Renault saw Greg Mansell score his first championship point as the rain that had threatened all morning came down at the mid point of the race to shake up the order.
A good start by both drivers saw Miguel Molina move up three places on the opening lap, with Greg Mansell going one better and passing four cars by the end of lap one. Both drivers gained a further place when James Walker retired on lap two. Miguel Molina was up as high as 6th when he became the first driver to come in for the mandatory pitstops. However a slow pitstop, when a wheel nut refused to go on, put the Spanish driver behind his Ultimate Motorsport teammate.
Like most cars on the track, both drivers had to revisit the pits for wets after the rain clouds burst on lap 13 and the Safety Car was deployed after two cars had gone off into the barriers. Molina was stuck behind the Safety Car for two laps, effectively a lap down, and when he was waved by he found himself over one minute thirty seconds adrift of the leaders in 17th place on a rain soaked track.
When the race resumed Greg Mansell was lying in 13th place. He passed Mihai Marinescu on lap 19 and then moved up a further two places on lap 22 when Jaime Alguersuari and Anton Nebylitskiy both retired. The race was declared on lap 22 after Frankie Provenzano hit the wall at the last corner, bringing out the red flags to halt the race, with Greg Mansell claiming tenth place and the final championship point.
Miguel Molina: "The first lap of the race was really good. I got up to P6 from 11th, so very happy with the start. We decided to be the first in for the pitstops, which I think was the best strategy, but we hit a problem with the rear right tyre and we lost a lot of time, so I think our race was finished there. It started to rain and we decided to go in behind Greg to put on the wet tyres. When I got back out onto the track I was behind the safety car and I didn't get the signal to overtake the safety car. I had to follow for two laps before the green lights let me past, which put me a long way behind the rest of the field. It was disappointing but we had a good car in qualifying and a good car in race distance and I'm sure the races in Spa will be much better."
Greg Mansell: "Both Miguel and I were frustrated as we had better cars and drove a lot better than where we finished in both races. I made a good start, moving up to eleventh. Then another wrong call and I came in for my pitstop before the rain to change the rears. We got lucky when it really started raining as we were coming to the pit entrance, so I managed to dive in. There was a problem with the front wets that meant I didn't have any front end grip or braking ability what so ever. So it was just a case of trying to survive and stay out there, but the pace in the car was good despite the problems. This is my first year and there are some new guys in the team and we're all learning. The good thing from this weekend is we've gelled as a team and, good or bad, we're working together to fix it. I'm looking forward to the races at Spa in two weeks. It will be nice to go to a track that I know after I drove there in British F3 two years ago."
Colin Morgan, Team Manager: "Very, very, very disappointing is the only way I can sum it up; we have a lot of work to do between now and Spa. The pitstops were rubbish apart from Greg's first scheduled stop and we have to improve. Both drivers did an excellent job; it's just a shame that circumstances didn't allow them to get more out of this weekend. We've had two of the quickest cars here all weekend and it's very disappointing that the results don't reflect this fact. It's onwards and upwards and Spa is going to be our race!"