ABU DHABI, RACE 1: GREAT COMEBACK FOR SCUDERIA COLONI Scuderia Coloni was aiming for a strong comeback in today's Race 1 in Abu Dhabi, and that's exactly what the Italian team got at the end of the first GP2 Main Series race, with Brendon ...
ABU DHABI, RACE 1: GREAT COMEBACK FOR SCUDERIA COLONI
Scuderia Coloni was aiming for a strong comeback in today's Race 1 in Abu Dhabi, and that's exactly what the Italian team got at the end of the first GP2 Main Series race, with Brendon Hartley finishing in P9 and James Jakes closing the race 15th.
The first good news came before the race, with both drivers gaining places on the grid (3 for Hartley, 2 for Jakes) due to the penalties issued by the Stewards to other drivers for not respecting the pit-lane red light in Qualifying.
With Hartley starting from 8th row and Jakes from P20, they both managed to gain one position when the lights went off thanks to a great start. Then, after an early Safety-Car period to remove Zaugg's stranded car, both Hartley and Jakes contested a very consistent race.
Brendon's race was amazing, as he first managed to pass Herck on track and then started to lap on a very quick pace, that allowed him to gain ground while the others were pitting. Lapping on the same times of the leaders Hartley made the most of the team's pit-stop strategy: doing his mandatory tyre change later than most of his direct rivals, Hartley recovered some places and came out of the pit-lane in front of Gonzalez.
With fresh tyres he immediately started to push and started to put pressure on Kral, challenging him for 8th position that meant pole for tomorrow's Race 2. Despite some really great driving by Scuderia Coloni's kiwi Kral kept cold blood and managed to defend P8, with Hartley settling for 9th place and ending just 1"5 from 6th place!
Good race also for James Jakes, at his first experience in the GP2 Main Series. Using the same strategy as his team mate the brit boasted a very consistent pace with no mistakes, showing also some very interesting performance peaks when he was not hampered by slower drivers. This was worth a very good recovery that saw him finishing 15th just behind D'Ambrosio.
Paolo Coloni: "I'm really satisfied of the job done by the team and the drivers. Brendon and James are both rookies in the GP2 Main Series, and with such a short track time it wasn't an easy task for them. They delivered a top-notch job and it was great to see how they managed to overcome the odds working with the team. I was amazed also by the pit-stops: there was no mistake from the drivers, they did some great in and out laps, and the mechanics were stunningly quick. I can just say 'Well Done' to everybody".
Brendon Hartley: "After the long stop it feels great to be back in the car! Frankly I was a little disappointed to be starting P15 but after qualifying we all worked hard to improve both my driving and the car. So today it was much better: I was really happy with my race pace and felt I was faster than the ones in front. So it was a bit was frustrating to finish 9th, only 1 place from the reverse grid pole. Anyway we did a really good job, and now I'm looking foward to another step and a strong race tomorrow!".
James Jakes: "First of all I would like to thank Coloni for giving me the opportunity to race this weekend at Abu Dhabi. It has been quite a difficult weekend so far, on one side because I was coming from a long stop for my wrist injury and on the other because getting used to the Bridgestone tyres isn't easy after racing all year on Pirelli in GP3. Anyway we made a lot of improvement in Race 1 and I'm looking forward to seeing if we can improve again tomorrow in Race 2".
-source: scuderia coloni