A day of sharp contrasts for Racing Engineering at the Hungaroring, whilst Javier Villa continues to get closer to the top of the GP2 series grid, achieving his best qualifying result so far, the debut of his new teammate, Marcos Martinez was ...
A day of sharp contrasts for Racing Engineering at the Hungaroring, whilst Javier Villa continues to get closer to the top of the GP2 series grid, achieving his best qualifying result so far, the debut of his new teammate, Marcos Martinez was frustrated by an unfortunate set of circumstances that totally ruined the chances of the young Spaniard.
For Villa the first target at the Hungaroring was clear, to improve his result in Friday's qualifying looking, if possible, for a place in the top ten for Saturday's race. He was so close to achieving his target as when the number 14 Dallara in its Repsol and Telefonica colours crossed the line on his final fast lap in qualifying, Javi's time was 10th overall. But with his time already set he had to watch as two more drivers improved his time in the dying seconds and Javi ended up 12th, still his best ever qualifying result but it looked less satisfying after being so close to finally being in the top ten.
If Javi's result was satisfying for Racing Engineering, Marcos Martinez's day ended up as a big disappointment for both driver and team. The young Spaniard was running at good pace in free practice, getting used to a GP2 car that he was driving for the first time while setting lap times within 107% of the fastest car, this was his target in order to be close to the whole pack despite his lack of experience with the car. But it all went wrong when just as he started the qualifying session his engine stopped for a reason still unknown for the team, and Marcos wasn't able to complete a flying lap.
As he did not set a valid time in qualifying, the GP2 organisers took the severe decision of not allowing him to race this weekend despite his proven experience in both F3 last year and World Series this season, where he's always been among the best. Thus Javier Villa will be the sole Racing Engineering driver for tomorrow's race when the team is confident that he will be, once again, fighting for points and for a good starting position on Sunday's grid. To achieve this the team is already working on the final changes on the setup in order to get a car that is a bit more stable to allow Javi to have a good pace from the race start. If these changes work and the pit stop strategy is right then Javier's chances of giving the team another cause to celebrate are very good.
Alfonso D'Orleans(team principal): "Javi did some good work even if he found quite a lot of traffic on his best laps. When he crossed the line at the end of the session he was tenth, it's a shame two more cars went by after and dropped him to 12th. Marcos couldn't run in qualifying after the engine stopped and that means he won't be allowed to race tomorrow as he didn't have qualifying time within the 107%, something he had achieved in free practice. A real shame as he's a very young driver but he already has proven experience in F3 and World Series, he only needs some more track time to get used to the GP2 car."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "Qualifying went better than the other times this season, we are closer and closer to the top positions even on a track as difficult as this one to keep up a good pace throughout the lap. Furthermore, the track is very bumpy so we are working on slightly modifying the setup to have a more stable car for the race."