DPR challenges continue in Monaco David Price Racing (DPR) with drivers Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud worked hard in a tough weekend of competition at the glitzy Monaco round of the GP2 Series. Soucek finished the Formula One Grand Prix ...
DPR challenges continue in Monaco
David Price Racing (DPR) with drivers Andy Soucek and Christian Bakkerud worked hard in a tough weekend of competition at the glitzy Monaco round of the GP2 Series. Soucek finished the Formula One Grand Prix supporting event in 14 th place with Bakkerud retiring towards the end of the race with accident damage. The team had aimed to improve on their performance at the first two rounds of the Series, with top ten finishes as the goal for the Monaco race.
The opening day of practice saw Soucek posting fifth quickest time, giving DPR a welcome boost. As the weekend progressed the team struggled to maintain this pace and with the limited track time on this challenging street circuit, Soucek qualified in 17th position.
Bakkerud had an additional concern at his first Monaco GP race weekend. Having recovered from a trapped nerve in his back which put paid to a points scoring finish in the Barcelona Sprint race, the Dane was struck down with food poisoning this weekend. His illness compromised his qualifying session, leaving him back in 19th place for the start of today's Feature race.
Starting from so far back on the grid was always going to be difficult for the DPR drivers with this street circuit renowned for first lap incidents and cars tripping over each other. It was Soucek that was caught up in this situation today and having tangled with Karun Chandhok, the Austro-Spanish driver had bent his steering and dislodged his front wing. He struggled on in fifteenth place, pitting on lap five for a new nosecone and front wing assembly, with the team using the opportunity to perform the mandatory tyre change during this stop. Within the time available DPR were unable to repair the bent steering and Soucek drove throughout the race with steering issues which hampered his performance over the course of the 45 laps race distance.
Bakkerud had made a solid start for the race, gaining a position on the first lap and then, over the course of the race, making further progress. The team gave him a good pitstop and he was quickly back racing. He maintained position as the race settled down until just after half distance when he was caught out by a slowing rival, with understeer nudging the Dane into the wall and causing rear suspension damage, which seven laps later put the young driver out of the race.
Bakkerud, although disappointed not to finish his first Monaco event, enjoyed the experience, and enthused, "It's just such an amazing place. I've had such a good time here, driving on this historic track, which is so challenging, exciting, awesome! "It's a shame I just made a small mistake which put us out of the race, as we were running at a really good pace. It gives me lots of confidence for next year though."
Of suffering illness for two events in a row he says, "I can't believe I've been ill for the last two races, it's the first, and hopefully, last time in my career that this has happened. I just hope it's been all at once and I can be back to 100% health now."
Soucek reviewed his race saying: "I made it difficult for myself having had the first lap incident with Chandhok and from that point onwards I just had to focus on keeping on the track and reaching the end. It's not easy when the car isn't handling well, but I kept going and reached the chequered flag. I'm now looking towards the test to make further progress with the car."
David Price, Team Principal, DPR was philosophical of the weekend, saying, "We're just not getting the results we need this season so far. Christian was under the weather earlier in the weekend, so he did well to drive so strongly today. Andy had a really great start with fifth fastest time in practice and we thought we were going to have a better weekend, but it didn't turn out that way. He coped well considering that he had steering problems, but we really need to get into the top ten at the next round. We'll be going to the Paul Ricard test next month looking to make a step forward."
The DPR team and its drivers move on to Paul Ricard for a two-day test ahead of the next round of the Series at Magny Cours. The test takes place from 19-20 June. Soucek was given a 10 place grid penalty for his part in the incident with Chandhok, and will have to serve this at the next round in Magny Cours.