Catalunya: Javier Villa qualifying report

Javier Villa started his campaign in the GP2 series with a result that was below both his expectations and the level that he had shown on the track throughout the day at Montmelo. With his best lap being ruined after having been slowed by another...

Javier Villa started his campaign in the GP2 series with a result that was below both his expectations and the level that he had shown on the track throughout the day at Montmelo. With his best lap being ruined after having been slowed by another competitor in the last few meters when he was on the way to a laptime among the best three and because both Javi and his teammate at Super Nova, Luca Filippi, have been penalised by three grid positions due to a yellow flag incident in free practice, the Spaniard will have to start tomorrow's Feature Race from fifteenth position.

Villa had started the day carrying out the work program laid out for free practice, setting a laptime among the top ten despite not really looking for quick times. However things started to go wrong for Javi during this first contact with the track, when the stewards reckoned that both he and his teammate, Filippi, had not reduced their speed sufficiently in a yellow flag zone, both drivers being handed a three place grid penalty.

The 30 minutes of qualifying, decisive in setting the first starting grid of the season, began with a first run for Javi that placed him eighth in spite of severe understeer on his car, so his chances to fight for the top positions continued to be good. Back in the pits, Villa and his team decided on a series of changes in the setup of the Dallara that were successful with the Asturian-born driver improving his previous time by half a second in the first two sectors of the track during his second attempt at a fast lap. Sadly, in the final part of the lap, both Villa and the driver running ahead came across Valsechi's car running much more slowly and ruining their lap, so Javi went from fighting for a place amongst the top three to eventually setting the twelfth fastest time, although only three tenths away from third position, undoubtedly far less than the time lost due to the hold-up caused by Valsechi's car.

Tomorrow, Villa will start from 15th position on the grid, a much lower spot than the one he'd deserved in view of his pace on the track today, so although it will not be not easy to fight for the points, Javi will be determined to recover as many positions as possible as well as to obtain a better place on the grid for the Sunday race.

Javier Villa's own words: "It has been a real disgrace! In the first qualifying attempt we were eighth although I had quite a lot of understeer, but we saw what was necessary to correct it. So we changed things on the car and went out to do the second attempt near the end of the session. In the first and second sectors I was going half second better, but in the third sector I came across Valsechi, who was running slowly and he hindered both me the driver who was in front of me. Valsechi is not a new driver and in cases like this it is possible to speak about bad luck when you find several drivers that are looking for space to do their lap, but when someone goes so slowly without having a look behind is not really bad luck.

It has been a shame, because with these two sectors, without doing anything special in the third, I would have been, for sure, among the top three, and to be fighting for a position like that in the first qualifying of the year would have been a very good way to begin the season, so tomorrow it will be necessary to find a way to recover!"

-credit: jv

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Luca Filippi , Javier Villa