ABU DHABI: POINTS FINISH FOR HERCK AND SCUDERIA COLONI
Great season start for Scuderia Coloni in Abu Dhabi, as the team grabbed points in the GP2 Asia debut weekend thanks to Michael Herck finishing 6th in today's Race 2.
Such result was the deserved reward for a really good job by the Italian team: the staff kept working hard after that Qualifying was hampered by traffic, knowing that the cars' race pace would have allowed some good recoveries. The races proved they were right, even on a track like Yas Marina were overtaking is deemed very difficult.
Some positive hints already came in Race 1, with Herck closing in P13 and Jakes recovering an impressive 9 places to finish 17th after a very consistent performance.
Then, in Race 2, the Scuderia Coloni guys boasted another great drive: Herck's race was very good right from the beginning, as the Romanian gained 4 places with a very good start; then he sticked himself to Bianchi's rear wing for nearly the whole race and kept putting pressure on him despite a damaged front winglet due to a contact in the first lap.
The gap between the two was around 0.5 for more than 20 laps, and proceeding as a pair they recovered another two places after a drive-through for Van der Garde and a crash for Sam Bird. With 4 laps to go they reached Leimer, struggling with tyre wear. Herck passed the swiss driver of Rapax on the penultimate lap with a very strong braking manoeuvre, grabbing the first point of 2011 for Scuderia Coloni.
Jakes contested a very good race too, keeping his position at the start and then fighting for the whole distance (26 laps) with Gutierrez and Fauzy. On a track like Yas Marina a driver's pace is much affected by who is ahead, but James showed some very impressive laptimes every time he had the opportunity to do so: on lap 6 the brit posted a 1'38"9, equalling the pace of the top 4 cars, and also later in the race he often boasted a top 10 pace. Dueling with his Lotus-ART and SuperNova competitors he didn't make any mistake and on lap 17 he passed Fauzy after a three-car fight, finishing in P15.
Paolo Coloni: "I'm really happy both with the drivers and the team. You know, at the first race weekend of the season it's easy to overdrive, but Michael and James were both very focused and cold-headed, and they managed every situation in the best possible way.
Herck really deserves to be praised because today he did put a lot of pressure on the Race 1 winner, for 20 laps and without a mistake. James also boasted some impressive laptimes, his pace would have been good for a great result with a different starting position.
I'd also like to say thanks to the whole team: our car was both quick and balanced. While for others tyre-wear was a major concern we had no issues and our cars were very quick at the end of the race, proving that the guys delivered a top-notch job".
Michael Herck: "The car was very good, especially today in Race 2. I think that after yesterday's race we did a very good job with the engineers and the mechanics, and starting the season with a points finish is very good for me and Scuderia Coloni. It's a great boost looking to the next races".
James Jakes: "Sometimes you have to go beyond the numbers, and in the end I think that I can be happy as in the last few days we had a very good progression. We did some good steps ahead with the car and I'm adapting my driving style to both the GP2 car and the tyres. Now I'm looking forward to the Bahrain races next weekend, I want to keep this positive momentum".
-source: scuderia coloni