UP AND DOWN FOR DPR IN MAGNY COURS David Price Racing (DPR) enjoyed a strong run with Diego Nunes today, with the young Brazilian finishing in 11th place from a 15th place start, his best Feature race finish this season. Unfortunately Michael ...
UP AND DOWN FOR DPR IN MAGNY COURS
David Price Racing (DPR) enjoyed a strong run with Diego Nunes today, with the young Brazilian finishing in 11th place from a 15th place start, his best Feature race finish this season. Unfortunately Michael Herck, in his first race with DPR, retired at mid-distance, with the young driver still recovering from his wrist injury.
The DPR team arrived in Magny Cours directly from the Paul Ricard GP2 test and just under four weeks from the last round in Monaco. Nunes recorded a ninth place finish in the second of the two street races at this event, his best finish of the season so far. The Brazilian continued to show improvement ahead of today's race, with his best qualifying performance of the season with 15th fastest lap and an eighth row grid slot.
Herck finally made his first race start with the team this weekend. The Romanian-born driver joined the team for this season driving in the pre-season tests, but a wrist injury incurred in the GP2 Asia Series sidelined him for the first three race weekends. The Magny-Cours feature race marked his debut with the team, although with the 20-year-old returning to the car for the first time in testing last week after a long layoff, the team were aware of his lack of fitness. Despite this, he coped well, taking part in the first GP2 qualifying session of his career yesterday.
At the start of the Feature race Nunes was off the line well and into 13th place by the end of the first lap, while Herck improved to 24th. Nunes continued to move forward, taking 12th spot after two laps and after five laps, he was lying in 11th place. The pitlane opened for the mandatory stop after six laps, but DPR as with the majority of the grid, opted to remain on track until further into the race.
As the race settled down the long, smooth track of Magny Cours began to stretch out the field of GP2 cars and limit the overtaking opportunities available. The team brought Herck in for his pit stop in the early stages and after quick work from the DPR crew he was quickly back out on track. A few laps later the team brought in Nunes and he was also given a clean tyre change and he was soon back out, chasing down the cars ahead. Herck coped with his lack of fitness in the early stages, but by the midway point he was feeling the after effects of his injury, struggling with the strength of his wrist, and was forced to retire from the race.
After the field of cars had made their stops the grid order showed a few changes, with Nunes fighting hard but dropping to 12th place after tussles, first with Alvaro Parente and then with Luca Filippi. Unfortunately Nunes was unable to battle at full strength with a gearbox hydraulics problem in the last few laps limiting his pace, particularly in the first sector of the lap. However the retirement of race leader, Romain Grosjean, promoted Nunes to 11th place, a position he retained until the chequered flag.
David Price commented after the Feature Race, "Diego put in a strong performance today. It's not an easy track to pass on, but he was able to make up ground with a good race pace. He wasn't able to defend his position at the end otherwise I think he'd have broken into the top ten, so bearing this in mind, he's certainly starting to show his potential. He qualified well and had his best GP2 starting position, and we're continuing to make steps forward each time out, so we're really pleased with the progress we're making, and I think our investment in the engineering operation is paying off now.
Michael has had a tough start, but he lacks the running that all the other drivers have had and that understandably puts him at a disadvantage. We have to remember that this was his GP2 debut and he's missed six races. Considering this, he has coped well and has shown real determination, but it will take him time to get back to full fitness."
The second of the two French Formula One Grand Prix supporting races takes place tomorrow morning, with the GP2 .Sprint distance, a straight lights to flag race.