CONFIDENT, CLASSY GP2 DEBUT FOR CONWAY Silverstone, UK & ...
CONFIDENT, CLASSY GP2 DEBUT FOR CONWAY
Silverstone, UK 11 June 2006: Mike Conway (Sevenoaks, Kent) impressed the Silverstone GP crowd in two thrilling GP2 races on the weekend. Making his GP2 racing debut at the British Grand Prix weekend, the British F3 regular rose to the challengeby setting the fastest lap times early on in both races to finish just outside the top ten each time.
With just a half hour practice session before qualifying, Conway, standing in for DPR Direxiv 's injured driver Olivier Pla in round six of the GP2 series, said it was a steep but fun learning curve. "I enjoyed the whole experience of racing in GP2, it's obviously quite different to Formula 3the format, the pit stops, the sprint racebut it's been fantastic to get the opportunity to do it and I've really enjoyed every bit of it."
In the75 minute first race, Conway, starting from grid 20, and having no practice with the very particular GP2 clutch starts, stalled the car, but compensated with a sensational drive to finish 11th. "It was good fun, just the start was a bit of a pain, it's a shame we stalled on the line because I think we had a good chance to finish a bit higher up than we did," he said.
For his first pit stop Conway had one of the quickest out-laps and made up good ground. "The second set of tyres went okay, we pushed hard and did some good lap times to really close the gap up. It helped that the safety cars came out, it allowed me to pass a couple of people. I did some good overtaking: on the exit of one corner and at quite high speed into Maggotts, a nice clean move on the inside curb so I really enjoyed it."
Jean Alesi, the Executive Director of the team title sponsor Direxiv said he was very happy with Conway's performance. "He made a superb race and was just learning for the first race. Maybe it's the most difficult clutch to start with because there is a lot of grip from the tyres and no control at all because it's an electronic clutch," he said.
The 11th place meant Conway started 11th for the 45 minute race on Sunday. "I had a problem again with the clutch on the start and lost a number of places, but after that we managed to catch up the people in front and pass and put some good lap times in." Conway held thefastest lap time early in the race and finished 12th.
The driver expressed his thanks to the DPR Direxiv team for the opportunity to race in the Formula One feeder series. Although the driver honed his superb talent and said it had "really good fun" to learn the 600bhp car, he said it was likely to be a one-off appearance and that his focus remains firmly on the British Formula 3 title this year.