DPR SHOWS EASTERN PROMISE The GP2 Asia Series made its second season debut in Shanghai, China today with the first of the two races of the weekend thrilling the crowd at this Formula One Grand Prix supporting event. David Price Racing (DPR)...
DPR SHOWS EASTERN PROMISE
The GP2 Asia Series made its second season debut in Shanghai, China today with the first of the two races of the weekend thrilling the crowd at this Formula One Grand Prix supporting event. David Price Racing (DPR) made their first start this afternoon in the Feature race, with the team's regular driver Michael Herck being joined by Japanese driver Yuhi Sekiguchi for this weekend. After 34 laps of hard racing at this state-of-the-art racing facility Herck finished in 16th place, with Sekiguchi unfortunately being spun into retirement by a race rival.
Both drivers had their first opportunity to experience the Shanghai circuit in official GP2 Asia Series testing last week. They returned to the track for the practice and qualifying sessions took place yesterday and after highly competitive sessions Sekiguchi had posted 17th quickest lap to start in this position for today's race with Herck immediately behind him on the grid in 19th place.
The grid made a clean getaway at the start with the field of cars snaking through the curling first sequence of corners, and shuffling position. By the end of the long lap it was Herck who had made the best start of the two DPR drivers, improving to 18th, while Sekiguchi dropped to 20th on the opener, then back to 23rd. The Japanese driver then recovered positions to lie in 20th after five laps, just behind team mate Herck in 19th.
The field began its first round of pitstops as soon as the pit window opened, with Herck opting to take an early stop and Sekiguchi remaining on track a little longer. After 11 laps of racing a stricken car in a dangerous position forced the deployment of the safety car. Some teams used this as an opportunity to make their pitstops, and by the time the safety car had left the track for the field to resume racing there were a number of winners and losers. Both DPR cars benefited from this period with Sekiguchi improving to 14th place and Herck to 16th position.
The restart, with 19 laps of racing remaining, saw all the cars return to full speed with the two yellow and blue DPR cars maintaining position. Unfortunately Herck was given a drive through penalty for a racing infringement which put him to the back of the field and he had a tough challenge to make up ground. Meanwhile Sekiguchi was improving his position, lying in12th place after 20 laps of running. The Japanese driver then took 11th place after the driver ahead ran wide, but a few corners later he was spun off the track by Filippi, which sadly ended his race. With the cars of Sekiguchi and Filippi stranded at the side of the track a second safety car period closed up the field. With six laps remaining racing resumed Herck was lying in 16th place and he crossed the finish line in this position.
David Price, Team Principal, said of the team's performance in the opening race, "We had strong runs with both cars today, but we didn't have the results to reflect this. Yuhi was looking good for a top ten finish or close to it, but he wasn't given the opportunity to reach the chequered flag. Michael's drive through penalty put him to the back and then left him with little opportunity to make the top ten. The positive we take away is the pace that we had, we just need to turn this in to results now."
The 2008-09 GP2 Asia Series season will be the second season of the GP2 Asia Series, completing twelve races in six events and ending on April 19 2009, supporting three Formula One Grand Prix events along the way.