A clutch problem occuring at the worst possible time just when starting the qualifying session, prevented Javier Villa from fighting for a place on the front rows of the grid for tomorrow's feature race at Hungaroring, where he will start from...
A clutch problem occuring at the worst possible time just when starting the qualifying session, prevented Javier Villa from fighting for a place on the front rows of the grid for tomorrow's feature race at Hungaroring, where he will start from 18th position.
Friday's practice had started well for Villa, with a new engine fitted to his Racing Engineering's Dallara that was, from the start, showing a lot of performance. The Spanish driver was among the fastest in the Free Practice session, completing all the scheduled setup work for Qualifying and also settring a very promising seventh fastest lap, just three tenths from the best lap.
Javi finished the free practice session with some very good feelings and sure of having quite animprovement margin in hand for qualifying, so his expectations were high, especially knowing how important is to qualify at the front on a track lkike the Hungaroring that is so difficult to overtake on.
Sadly all his hopes of getting a good position for the Saturday grid were lost when the Spaniard noticed, just after finishing his first lap in qualifying with the second best time, that the clutch of his Dallara had started to slip. Without the time to fix the problem in the ever frantic 30 minutes that decides the grid, Villa had no choice but to continue which meant that he was unable to get better than 18th alter a lap completed in the closing moments of the session that involved overtaking two cars that were slowing down. In such conditions, his lap time was only a few thousandths of a second better than his morning effort even if now the track was far faster as shown by the improvement of around a second by most of his competitors.
This starting position, near the back of the grid on the ninth row, greatly impacts on Javier's chances for the whole GP2 Series weekend in Hungary. On a track where it is really difficult to overtake, the Spaniard will try to recover as many places as possible in the Saturday Feature Race, pushing hard and looking for a good strategy call for the mandatory pit stop, this could be crucial in allowing him some chance to gain places and get to a points scoring position at the end of the 42 scheduled laps.
Javier Villa's own words:
"The engine change meant a very noticeable improvement and in free practice we were seventh. In qualifying we were pushing from the first lap, with good pace and being second fastest, but starting the second lap the clutch begun to slip and that continued l for the whole session, sometimes better, sometimes worse, always in a very irregular way so it was impossible to go well.
"I set my fastest lap near the end of the session, even overtaking a couple of cars that were slowing down. Given how I went in Free Practice I'm pretty sure I'd have been among the top five without that clutch problem. Tomorrow it will be a tough race, this track is one of the hardest for overtaking, but I have to try to get to the points, I need to score."