Javier Villa begins his second year in the GP2 series this weekend at Bahrain, scene of the first round in the 2007 schedule of F1's official feeder series. The modern Arabian track returns to GP2 after being the site of the 2005 championship ...
Javier Villa begins his second year in the GP2 series this weekend at Bahrain, scene of the first round in the 2007 schedule of F1's official feeder series.
The modern Arabian track returns to GP2 after being the site of the 2005 championship deciding round when the Rosberg-Kovalainen duel for the first GP2 title was decided at Bahrain in favour of Keke Rosberg's son. Two years later both drivers are in F1 after their experience in GP2, a path also followed by the new F1 sensation (and 2007 GP2 champion) Lewis Hamilton.
Following in the footsteps of all them will is very likely to be in the mind of Javier Villa and his fellow 25 rivals in this new season of the world's most exciting single seater series. The 26 drivers who are starting the 2007 GP2 series make for quite a heterogeneous group, from category veterans such as Xandi Negrao, facing his third season in the series, to total newcomers like the last minute BCN signing, the Chinese Ho Pin Tung, coming from A1GP and with no previous experience at all at the wheel of the Dallara GP2 he will be driving this weekend. Among them all Villa already belongs to the group of drivers with previous experience in the category after his long and fruitful learning season last year.
But in Bahrain Villa will face once again the challenge presented by a track he doesn't know. The Sakhir circuit wasn't among the tracks visited by the GP2 series last season so, as was the norm for him last year, it will be at the first free practice session on Friday morning when Javi will have his first contact with the track. As before he will be involved in the dog fight that is the qualifying session and here his first target is to discover what his and Racing Engineering's expectations are to be in this, their second year together in GP2.
Initially driver and team feel confident that, after the good work carried out during the winter with the very good lap times and especially the great feedback given by Villa at these preseason tests, it looks like the perfect base to build up a year with plenty of happiness. To achieve this there will be nothing better than having a good start in Bahrain where the top priority for the young Spaniard (again the youngest driver in the series!) will be to get a place among the first half of the starting grid for Saturday's race. Such a result seems to be perfectly within his reach after the times set at the last test session in Paul Ricard where, working closely with his race engineer Andrew Ferguson, Javi was already concentrating on the car setup for this first race weekend of the season.