TOUGH OPENER FOR DPR IN BARCELONA The opening round of the 2008 GP2 Series kicked off today in Barcelona, Spain, with David Price Racing (DPR) lining up on the grid with the new GP2 car and two new faces for the summer season. Brazilian Diego ...
TOUGH OPENER FOR DPR IN BARCELONA
The opening round of the 2008 GP2 Series kicked off today in Barcelona, Spain, with David Price Racing (DPR) lining up on the grid with the new GP2 car and two new faces for the summer season. Brazilian Diego Nunes, had a tough start to the championship, starting 25th and finishing 15th today. Giacomo Ricci made his first GP2 start with DPR this weekend, as a temporary replacement driver for the injured Michael Herck. Herck will make his GP2 Series summer season debut as soon as he has recovered from a hand injury sustained at the Bahrain round of the GP2 Asia Series earlier this month. Ricci was also given a big challenge in Spain, starting in 26th position and finishing in16th place.
The Formula One supporting series held its official launch on Thursday evening and held the first of twenty races at the Barcelona track following two days of practice and qualifying. Nunes had experienced the DPR car in pre-season testing and used his return to the car to reacquaint himself with the new-for-2008 racer. In qualifying the Brazilian driver was running well on his first set of tyres and the team expected a top 10 to 15th position, but on his second set of tyres yellow flags meant that he wasn't able to put in another hot lap, dropping him back down the order. The first time that Ricci experienced a GP2 race car was in the Friday practice session, and with this lack of experience he coped well and showed potential with his handling of the car in qualifying after so little time in the car.
The first race start of the season saw plenty of racing action, and with the safety car deployed on the second lap for a stranded car at turn one, most of the field opted for an early mandatory pit stop. For DPR as with many teams, this meant that the cars were stacked. Ricci, having passed Nunes at the start, was first into the pits of the two DPR cars, but a stall as he left delayed both his and Nunes' stops. Both drivers dropped to the back, but over the course of the race while other drivers made mistakes or suffered technical problems, the two DPR cars kept to the track.
After 38 laps of hard racing Nunes brought his car home in 15th place, followed closely by Ricci in 16th, and the two drivers will line up in these positions for tomorrow's Sprint race.
David Price, Team Principal said after the Feature race, "The lead up to today's race hasn't been without its challenges for both drivers. We always knew it was a tough challenge for Giacomo who had no experience of a GP2 car before arriving here in Barcelona. In these circumstances he's coped extremely well and has been improving each time he's been in the car. He reached the finish, so racked up the mileage and starts in a better position than today, which is very positive. Diego's also had his share of hurdles to overcome. It started in practice with gearbox problems and continued into qualifying with engine issues. It was circumstances outside of the control of DPR and Diego, but he also coped admirably. Starting 15th tomorrow should help him, and we can aim to improve on that by the chequered flag of the Sprint race."
The second of the Barcelona GP2 races takes place tomorrow morning, concluding the first of ten rounds of competition in the 2008 championship.