HIGHS AND LOWS FOR DPR IN HUNGARY David Price Racing (DPR) continued its 2007 GP2 Series campaign with drivers Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud at Hungaroring today. The high of the weekend was the best qualifying of the season so far for ...
HIGHS AND LOWS FOR DPR IN HUNGARY
David Price Racing (DPR) continued its 2007 GP2 Series campaign with drivers Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud at Hungaroring today. The high of the weekend was the best qualifying of the season so far for Soucek, with 10th place on the grid. Soucek finished in 12th place after a tough race which featured a number of incidents, while team mate Bakkerud was forced to retire with a recurrence of his early season back problem.
Both drivers had previous experience of the Hungarian track, although neither had driven the GP2 car prior to this weekend. The crucial free practice session took place in extremely high temperatures, but was fully utilised by the team and Soucek was immediately on pace, recording seventh fastest time in this session. Bakkerud posted 22nd fastest time in a session which featured the first twelve drivers within a second of the top spot, and 22 drivers within 2 seconds.
The weather for the afternoon qualifying session had cooled and with some cloud cover gave DPR welcome relief from the extreme heat of the morning. The tricky circuit caught out a number of drivers in their efforts to gain a good grid position, but Soucek drove well to turn tenth quickest lap which secured him a fifth row grid slot for today's feature race. Bakkerud improved on his morning's performance with 17th place for the race.
The run to the first corner at the start today saw cars jostling for position with Soucek in the thick of the action at the front and Bakkerud fighting hard further down the field. Emerging in eighth place at the end of the first sector, Soucek dropped to ninth after an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre from rival Nicolas Lapierre. Bakkerud made a good start and climbed to 13th place by the end of the first lap. Soucek stayed on pace with the front pack of ten drivers, until his tyres began to wear and affect his car's handling. Pitting early with other front runners on lap seven the young DPR driver returned to the track and continued pushing hard to stay on a strong race pace. Bakkerud opted to stay out a few laps longer on his first set of tyres and was running well, pitting on lap 10 for his mandatory tyre change. A safety car period four laps later closed up the field with Soucek lying in seventh and Bakkerud in 14th place.
At the restart Soucek was passed by Rodriguez in the melee of the fight to the first corner, while Bakkerud also dropped a place to lie 15th. The tightly packed field gave Soucek a tough battle for position and struggling with his tyres he lost a number of positions in the closing stages, finally finishing in 12th. Team mate, Bakkerud, was unlucky to have a recurrence of a trapped nerve problem with his back and with the extreme pain was forced to pit after 29 laps of the 41 lap race distance and the Dane retired for medical attention.
David Price, Team Principal, DPR, said of the weekend so far, "Although today's result for Andy was disappointing, he drove well and yesterday proved he can get to grips with a track quickly , making good use of the short practice session. It was encouraging that he was able to get into the top ten for qualifying. Christian was in great pain this afternoon, so it was best that he came in and went to the medical centre. We don't know whether he'll be fit for tomorrow's Sprint race, but our priority is his well-being, so we'll leave this decision until we know more."
The Hungaroring round of the GP2 Series, supporting the FIA Formula One World Championship, concludes tomorrow morning with a short Sprint race.