It was a great start today for Javier Villa when he finished fourth in the 34 lap Feature Race, round 1 of the 2008 GP2 Asia series. It was a race of firsts for Javi, his first race in the GP2 Asia championship, his first race at the Shanghai ...
It was a great start today for Javier Villa when he finished fourth in the 34 lap Feature Race, round 1 of the 2008 GP2 Asia series. It was a race of firsts for Javi, his first race in the GP2 Asia championship, his first race at the Shanghai circuit and his first race with the Super Nova team.
After an excellent performance on Friday that saw Javier set the third fastest time to give him his best qualifying result in GP2 so far Javier was looking forward to today's race with confidence. The race started under hazy sunshine with Javi making a very good start from the second row although he was forced to back off slightly to avoid contact with the DAMS car of Kobayashi. As the cars completed the first lap Javier lost a place to the ART car of Yamamoto, the ART car diving inside Javi's Super Nova car and although Javi tried to regain the place as Yamamoto ran a little wide he was off line for the next corner and the young Spaniard had to concede the place.
Over the next few laps Javier concentrated on consolidating his position as he found his car was understeering a little and he was unable to keep the pace of the leading three cars losing a tenth or two every lap but finding himself able to pull away from the pursuing cars, lead by Petrov, by the same amount. Lap 11 saw the deployment of the Safety Car as a spinning car was stranded on the circuit and Javi, along with the other leading cars, made his mandatory pit stop. The Super Nova team quickly changed two wheels on Javi's car and he resumed the track still in 4 th place. The Safety car pulled off the track 4 laps later and the race was underway again.
Once again Javi found he was just a little off the pace of the three leading cars, as the tyre change didn't cure the understeer, whilst able to pull away comfortably from the still chasing Petrov. By lap 24 Javi found himself having a rather lonely race some 5 seconds behind the third placed Yamamoto and 4 seconds ahead of Petrov. The Safety car was back out on the track again on lap 25 as two cars spun and blocked part of the track, the cars closed up and ran in formation until, with six laps to go, the Safety Car pulled off.
With just a few laps remaining Javi concentrated on not making any mistakes and as the chequered flag fell he crossed the line just over three seconds down on Yamamoto and 2.2 seconds ahead of Petrov. As well as finishing 4 th Javi also set the 4 th fastest race lap and he will start tomorrow's Sprint Race from 5 th place on the reversed grid with a very good chance of another good finish and perhaps a place on the podium.
Javier Villa's own words:
"It was quite a tough race, I was struggling a little bit with understeer and we thought it could get better as the race went on but it didn't happen so finishing fourth is quite good. I'm happy with how things are going so far this weekend, I had my best qualifying yesterday, and today I got my best result in a feature race so I hope to go on like that. Tomorrow I am starting fifth and I will fight for a podium finish. I am doing good work with the team and it's paying off ."