Asia: Bahrain: Will Bratt race 1 report

COMPETITIVE BAHRAIN RACE DEBUT FOR GP2 ROOKIE BRATT Will Bratt made a promising start to the third GP2 Asia Series event of the 2009/2010 season at Bahrain International Circuit today, Friday, 26th February -- the British racer securing a strong...

COMPETITIVE BAHRAIN RACE DEBUT FOR GP2 ROOKIE BRATT

Will Bratt made a promising start to the third GP2 Asia Series event of the 2009/2010 season at Bahrain International Circuit today, Friday, 26th February -- the British racer securing a strong top 16 finish on his race debut at the Sakhir track during a highly competitive fifth round of the campaign.

Driving for the Party Poker Racing.com Scuderia Coloni team, the 21-year-old made an outstanding start to the 34-lap Feature Race from the 10th row of the grid. Scything his way into 15th position, gaining five places in the first few turns, he weathered a more difficult mid-race period to produce a strong final third of the race where his pace was comparable to the quickest cars on track.

Getting progressively faster as round five wore on, Will posted a best lap time of 1m48.592 seconds on the 29th lap which was equal to the pace of pole-sitter Jules Bianchi and most of the other top 10 finishers at that point. Stringing together a series of laps in the 1m48 second bracket during the last 10 laps, the Banbury-based racer served notice of the potential for another strong run tomorrow.

"If we can replicate the same pace from the second half of today's race in the Sprint Race, we should be competitive but it will be so important to manage the tyres well", said Will, "My start today was very good again, unfortunately I ran a little bit wide a couple of laps into the race but the second half was strong. We ran faster and faster and certainly made good progress with the lap times."

During the short practice session on Thursday, 25th February, Will's first ever experience of the Sakhir circuit, he posted a best lap of 1m45.852 seconds (184.060 km/h) even though his track time was reduced to just four genuine quick laps due to an engine-related problem.

With that in mind, the Euroseries 3000 and Italian Formula 3000 Champion was less than half a second shy of the top 10 but qualifying didn't deliver the improvement expected and he ended up 20th on the grid with a lap of 1m45.320 seconds (184.990 km/h).

After making a typically strong start to this morning's race, Will lost ground on the third tour after running slightly wide at Turn 10 which then compromised his entrance to Turn 11. Slipping several positions to 18th, he pitted at the end of lap six for his mandatory tyre change and when the race order evened out Will held 19th place.

Managing his tyres well, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star set about making inroads and dispatched Vladimir Arabadzhiev, Max Chilton and Josef Kral. On lap 23, Will moved ahead of Alexander Rossi and continued to improve his times with a series of fantastically consistent sectors.

Holding 16th place with two laps remaining his next target, Edoardo Piscopo, was some 3.4 seconds ahead. Will closed the gap to two seconds into the final lap and ate into the Italian's advantage yet further over the last 6.3km to take the chequered flag just a second shy of the top 15.

Bahrain International Circuit will host the sixth round of the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia Series tomorrow, Saturday, 27th February, at 13.10 (local time). Digital satellite and cable channel British Eurosport 2 will screen live coverage in the UK with the broadcast beginning at 10.00.

-source: will bratt

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Series FIA F2
Drivers Josef Kral , Max Chilton , Vladimir Arabadzhiev , Jules Bianchi , Will Bratt