DPR DELIVERS PODIUM IN DUBAI David Price Racing (DPR) returned to racing today in the inaugural round of the GP2 Asia Championship and took a superb third place at the Dubai Autodrome. Driver Andy Soucek fought hard to bring home DPR's first ...
DPR DELIVERS PODIUM IN DUBAI
David Price Racing (DPR) returned to racing today in the inaugural round of the GP2 Asia Championship and took a superb third place at the Dubai Autodrome. Driver Andy Soucek fought hard to bring home DPR's first podium of the new series, whilst rookie team mate Armaan Ebrahim showed his ability to keep a cool head under pressure by completing his first full GP2 race.
Soucek started the day on a good footing being quickest during the morning warm up, setting a time of 1:21.870. As qualifying got underway, DPR again set the early pace with Soucek holding the top spot during the session with a time of 1:21.859 seconds. During the dying moments, Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) and iSport's Bruno Senna just piped Soucek by 0.099 seconds, leaving him a respectable third on the grid.
In only his first ever GP2 qualifying, newcomer Armaan Ebrahim (19) worked hard on set-up for the car and finished the session with a time of 1:24.764 seconds placing him 24th on grid ahead of the afternoons race.
As the lights went out in the first ever GP2 Asia Feature Race, Soucek made a strong start off the line, maintaining his third place into the first corner, Soucek then made an impressive manoeuvre down the inside of Senna into the third corner and took second place. Further back Ebrahim also made the best of his grid position, maintaining his position off the start line.
Soucek battled hard to keep Senna at bay, then on lap 17 he pitted coming in a few laps after Senna, putting the pressure on the DPR pit crew to get Soucek out in front. A faultless stop gave the DPR driver the edge and he re joined in second place and pulled out his lead to over three seconds. One lap later Ebrahim also made his stop, rejoining in 22nd place after another problem free tyre change from the DPR crew.
As the race progressed both drivers worked hard, coping well with the traffic and holding off challenges from behind. Senna caught up to the back of Soucek and they reignited their battle, but after nearly 38 laps of being chased down by Senna, Soucek's tyres went off causing a slight error into turn one. Senna then got a run on Soucek into the next few corners and the inevitable happened as Senna took the position. Soucek nursing his rear tyres came under threat from Adrian Valles in the dying laps, but he held off the challenge and bought the car home in a well deserved third place. Ebrahim drove maturely to bring home the car in 22nd position as the chequered flag fell.
David Price, Team Principal, DPR commented, "It was a good podium, with Andy having been on the pace all week and qualifying up front was a step forward as that's where we were struggling last season. All the work over the winter has paid off with the result today and we're anticipating maintaining this level of performance.
"Armaan didn't qualify as well as he ran in the relative ease of the free practice sessions, but it was his first GP2 qualifying and it's a tough session, as we're running on hard compounds and they take time to come up to peak performance. I think Armaan was as disappointed as we were with his qualifying position as this made it difficult for him in the race. It's a steep learning curve and a big step up for him, compounded by an engine problem on the first day which lost him valuable running time. We'll work with him and make gains as the season progresses."
The teams will now prepare for the second race of the weekend, which will take place tomorrow at the Dubai Autodrome. The grid positions for the Sprint race are decided from today's finishing result, meaning Soucek will start 8th on the grid and Ebrahim 22nd.