OVERCOMING ADVERSITY AT 'YAS' - ROSSI 3RD IN GP2 ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates February 9, 2010 - Alexander Rossi returned to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this past weekend to race under the lights for round...
OVERCOMING ADVERSITY AT 'YAS' - ROSSI 3RD IN GP2 ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates February 9, 2010 - Alexander Rossi returned to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this past weekend to race under the lights for round two of the GP2 Asia Series. The event marked Rossi's race debut for team MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.
Despite an adversity filled weekend at 'Yas', Rossi and Meritus collected valuable championship points, exiting the weekend with Rossi now 3rd in the driver's standings as GP2 Asia heads to the Bahrain International Circuit later this month.
Rossi was pleased with his Meritus entry from the outset, qualifying 5th just 3/10ths shy of pole. However, a technical infraction with a setting on the rear wing element was assessed by the FIA stewards after the session resulting in Rossi being relegated to 24th on grid for race one.
Alexander Rossi exiting turn 19 at Yas Marina Circuit - Image by: Dawn Rossi, Team Rossi Motorsports, LLC
"The MeritusQi car balance was really good, we just struggled to find clean laps and some luck in qualifying," Alexander commented. "In qualifying, I was quick from the start but suffered a delay when the FIA collected me to the weighbridge while pitting for my second set of tires. This was a random check but cost about 3 minutes. The team made efforts to get me out as quickly as possible and accidentally set in too much wing, causing the technical penalty imposed later in parc ferme. Mistakes happen, but the whole MeritusQi team worked really hard for me all weekend and I'm very thankful for the opportunity they gave me."
Alexander, having a brilliant start and determined to recover from the qualifying penalty, tore through the field on the opening lap of race one advancing from 24th on the grid to 14th. Rossi continued his fantastic run throughout the race crossing the finish line in 6th place.
"It was great to race through the pack and overtake in race one" Rossi smiled. "The car balance was very good and I was able to position myself where I needed to overtake for position. I knew we were deficient in top speed, with the car struggling to pull in the higher gears. This made it very important to get the best run off the corner as possible."
Results of race one set the starting order for race two with the top eight finishers inverting. From third on the grid, Rossi made a very good start to take second place into to Turn 1. This was short lived; however, as a safety car was immediately deployed for a multi-car accident further back in the field. At the restart, two cars overtook Rossi, placing him in 4th. From this point onward Rossi's pace progressively declined, forcing him to defend for the 21-lap sprint race to finish 9th.
"Running 2nd, I saw the safety car as an opportunity to overtake Michael Herck for the lead," said Rossi. "It turns out we did not have the pace in race two and the car was laboring in 4th, 5th and 6th gear. I kept pushing and defended as much as possible, buying time, but the pace was not there. It is disappointing because we had a shot at a win today. It is behind me now and we must only focus on the solution and the next event in Bahrain."
"It was a hard weekend, but we earned three points and Alexander Rossi climbed to third in the driver's classification with 10 points," says Peter Thompson, President and team founder. "I am very proud of our Malaysian team and want to thank the drivers, engineers and mechanics for their dedication and hard work all week end."
The next round of the championship takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit, February 25-27. A new circuit for Rossi, he will train this week in a simulator belonging to Wirth Research in the U.K.
"There were many ups and downs in Abu Dhabi," says Alexander. "The whole Meritus team is extremely talented group of people. I am very thankful for Peter Thompson giving me the opportunity this weekend. MeritusQi Racing is a championship winning team with a lot of experience and the ability to recover. I have no doubt that things will be smooth and sorted for Bahrain."
-source: alexander rossi