Asia: Abu Dhabi: Meritus Racing race one report on the podium in opening round of 2009 GP2 Free practice (20) Luca Filippi - 1.55.269 - 4th - 11 laps (21)Diego Nunes - 1.55.573 - 10th - 12 laps Qualifying (20) Luca Filippi - 1.52.240 - 4th (21)Diego Nunes - 1.52.9907... on the podium in opening round of 2009 GP2

Free practice
(20) Luca Filippi - 1.55.269 - 4th - 11 laps
(21)Diego Nunes - 1.55.573 - 10th - 12 laps

(20) Luca Filippi - 1.52.240 - 4th
(21)Diego Nunes - 1.52.9907 - 17th

Race 1
Luca Filippi - 2nd - podium
Diego Nunes - DNF - drive shaft problem

Saturday, October 31, 2009 - Italian Luca Filippi and Brazilian Diego Nunes had opposite results for their first race at Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Luca Filippi capitalized on his positive qualifying result and finished in second position on the podium after a strong fight with Valsecchi during the 33-lap race. Diego Nunes was more unlucky as his drive shaft broke in the early stage of the race.

In qualifying the two drivers finished in fourth (Luca Filippi) and 17th (Diego Nunes). Filippi kept fourth at the start. On lap 3 Filippi had overtaken Jakes and Bird and was lapping in 1.55.210, in second position behind Valsecchi as a number of drivers behind got drive through penalties.

Diego Nunes' hopes were dashed as he was forced out of the race by a driveshaft problem.

The first pit stops occurred on lap 6 but Filippi stayed out in the lead until lap 13. After the first safety car was deployed to clear debris on the track, Filippi came in to change tyres and make his pit stop and took the lead following the pit stop. The Italian tried to widen the gap with Valsecchi who was behind him. Then in a minor overtaking incident Valsecchi and Filippi's cars almost touched, and Valsecchi got ahead taking the lead thus leaving Flippi in second. On lap 25, the second safety car was out after Kralev spun on the straight but the positions did not change until the end of the 33-lap race.

The end result was a great podium for Malaysian motorsports ambassadors for their first race and the opening round of the 2009 GP2 Asia season.

Luca Filippi commented, "I am so pleased for the team! To be on the podium for our first race shows how competitive we are. It is just magnificent. I like everything here and did the best possible with a really good car. I did not have a fantastic start, but overtook two rivals right away in the first laps. I really benefitted from a very good team strategy for the race and the right pit stop. After the first safety car I was leading the race and thought we had a chance to win. But Valsecchi had more power in the end. It is a good result for the start and the right result for the team after so much hard work on their side in the winter and after the tests last week where we were strong. I am even more motivated for race 2 even if the grid will be reversed and I will start from 7th on the grid tomorrow. This result and these points count really for me."

Diego Nunes commented, "This is not my weekend. After a very average qualifying, I had an unforeseen problem with the drive shaft that broke at the start of the race. It is quite a disappointing result for the team."

Chairman Raad S. Abduljawad said: "Well done to all in the team after a tough winter and a lot of hard work. I am very pleased with this great podium result. It is a fantastic start to the season finishing the race on the podium after a strong race. Filippi had a good race. He stayed in te forefront through all the race with Valsecchi and deserves the result."

Peter Thompson, President and team founder concluded, "Dato Yahaya Bin Abdul Jabar, our Malaysian Ambassador in the UAE visited us at the pits this morning and brought us luck to finish with a magnificent second place. I am very proud for the team to have scored our first podium of the season. Congratulations to Luca Filippi who drove a faultless race. It's a pity that the drive shaft broke on Brazilian Diego Nunes' car. Tomorrow for race two we need to achieve a similarly good result with points."

Follow the team at Yas Marina circuit on Oct 31 - Nov 1, 2009. Race 1 will be on Saturday at 11:00 Abu Dhabi time (GMT+3) and race 2 at 13.30 on Sunday.

-credit: meritus

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Luca Filippi , Diego Nunes