Quotes from Stefano, Josef and Marcus
GP2 Asia Series: Welcome to Sprint Race press conference here in Abu Dhabi. Joining us today race winner Stefano Coletti for Trident Racing, in second place Josef Kral for Arden International and in third place Marcus Ericsson for iSport International. Starting with you Stefano, congratulations! Great race and a first win in Gp2. How does that feel?
Stefano Coletti: It's quite nice to win a race during the first race weekend of the year. We knew we had the pace on old tyres so when I started the race I thought the only think I have to do is be first at the end of the first lap and then I can manage to pull away and that's what I did.
GP2 Asia Series: You told me earlier that you were not satisfied with your start but it looked pretty fine from where we stand. What happened exactly?
Stefano: The thing is I did not wheel spin at all, but I almost stalled my engine so when I started the car almost stopped and I looked in my mirrors, a bit worried. And then I saw that everyone had a bad start as well, so... For me there was no risk at all at the first corner.
GP2 Asia Series: You managed to stay within two seconds ahead of your nearest rival. How did it feel from the car?
Stefano: I just knew that I had to not go too hard on the rear tyres so when I took the lead and built a bit of gap in the first two laps I was slowing then down a bit to protect my tyres and then I was doing that all the time, pushing slowing down, pushing, slowing down... And it worked perfectly because my tyres stayed alive until the end of the race. I never had any issue from the tyres and my car was just perfect from the first lap till the end.
GP2 Asia Series: What are your objectives for Bahrain?
Stefano: First of all we need to improve the car on new tyres because yesterday I started from 19th after qualifying. I managed to arrive eighth and now win this race. But it would be good to be in the top eight in the next race directly from qualifying and then fight for the podium in the first race.
GP2 Asia Series: What do you think is missing in qualifying?
Stefano: I think we have not understood the tyres yet so we have to work a lot, look at the data and see what we can do.
GP2 Asia Series: Thank you Stefano. Josef, great job today. How did the race go for you?
Josef Kral: Well it was really difficult this weekend because during the practice I was really fast. We were quite happy with the pace. I finished P1 and then through the qualifying I couldn't manage a proper lap so it caused me to maybe win the first race. I could have really tried to finish on the podium. I was really pushing hard. We just didn't set the car for the right pace during Race 1. We just learnt from it and it helped for this race. I had quite a good start, it was average. It could have been better actually. From then on I was pushing hard behind Sam Bird. But he made no mistake until he lost the car and span. It just opened the door for me and I could push a bit harder but it was really difficult because my tyres were already quite used. Marcus was behind me so I had to balance it a bit more. So I concentrated on finishing because Marcus probably used his tyres in the middle of the race where he was trying to catch up with us. He was not able to do any move to overtake me which helped me quite a lot.
GP2 Asia Series: This podium is a fantastic result for you coming back from a back injury last season. You seemed to have adapted quickly to this new car...
Josef: Well it feels really well. I am in a new team and with Arden with are working very well together. We get along very well. So I think that we can be very competitive this year and I think the car is quite good. It is pretty different from the last one, but I mean it is also about the new tyres which are quite difficult and interesting to drive, really because you need to really think in advance to know what the tyres will do in the next laps. So it is more difficult for the drivers, which I like because now it's more about the driving style than the set up of the car. We'll see in the next races because we have only tested here so now it will be a different track and a different grip level which can change everything. I hope that we can stay on this position and maybe improve.
GP2 Series: Thank you Josef. Marcus, it was quite an interesting race for you. Can you take us through it?
Marcus Ericsson: I did quite a bad start. I had way too much wheel spin and I lost positions straight off the line, but I felt during the first lap that I had a lot of pace like yesterday. The team has made a fantastic job since day one with the new car. We showed especially yesterday that we are very strong in the race pace. I knew was going to have a strong pace again today so I managed to do a nice move on Valsecchi at the beginning of the race and I could follow the guys in front. I was thinking about saving my tyres and not push too hard at first. Then I started to push so that could try and make a move on the guys in front and I managed to catch them up very quickly and I felt strong. But then when I was near Josef my rear tyres were starting to be difficult to manage. I never got the opportunity to attack. But I was already on the podium. It is a fantastic start of the season.
GP2 Asia Series: What are you objectives for the GP2 Asia season?
Marcus: I think the most important for me and the team is to prepare the car and ourselves to the European season. But of course the Asia Series is very important. This year all the drivers will also run in the main Series. I mean the quality of the field is excellent. I think it is super competitive and to be running in front is good for the team and also for me. It helps with my level of confidence.
GP2 Asia Series: And what about Bahrain next week?
Marcus: I'm looking forward to it. Unfortunately I have never driven in Bahrain. I think a lot of the other guys have. But it's like any other race: you come to the track, you have half an hour to learn and get ready for qualy. It will be tough but I am sure that my team will give me a very good car as they did this weekend. And we should be competitive and fight in the front.