It was not the day that Racing Engineering was hoping for as mechanical troubles wrecked the hopes of their number one driver Javier Villa. Following yesterday's Feature race where Javier had shown a good turn of speed despite understeer problems...
It was not the day that Racing Engineering was hoping for as mechanical troubles wrecked the hopes of their number one driver Javier Villa. Following yesterday's Feature race where Javier had shown a good turn of speed despite understeer problems and new team member Filipe Albuquerque had belied his lack of experience with a confident run hopes were high today for a good result especially given Javier's proven skill at making up places.
The two Racing Engineering cars lined up 13th and 15th on the grid under blue skies and warm temperatures, much more suited to the hard Bridgestone tyres all the cars were using. As the lights went off Filipe made a good start, holding his position through the opening lap but Javier was in difficulties as a clutch problem saw him drop six places to 19th at the end of lap 1. Lap 2 saw Filipe lose a place and drop to 16th as Javier began to try and make up as many positions as possible. On lap 3 Javier passed Tahinci and the next lap saw him gain another place at the expense of Tung as he then began to close in on his team-mate Filipe.
Both drivers gained two places on lap 7 as Zaugg missed his braking point and made contact with Glock causing their cars to leave the track. Filipe soon found himself less than a second behind the Durango car of Chandhok but Javier was making no further progress as he began to suffer from engine problems caused by high temperatures. The Racing Engineering team keeping a close eye on the number 14 car, ready to call him into the pits if the problem worsened. Both Racing Engineering cars continued to race on with Filipe unable to challenge Chandhok with the perennial passing problem at Silverstone, the corners are so quick closing in on another car causes a loss of aerodynamic grip.
As Javier's engine temperature problem continued to plague him he called into the pits were it was found that a discarded rip-off visor from another driver had blocked his radiator. The team quickly removed the offending item and Javier returned to the track but the damage had been done and the young Spaniard was unable to progress any further and he retired to prevent more damage to his engine. The final laps of the race unfolded and at the chequered flag Filipe finished a reliable and steady 14th and Javi was back in 22nd two laps down after his enforced retirement.
Alfonso D'Orleans(team principal): "It has been quite a disappointing weekend. Today we again had engine problems totally out of our control on Javi's car, the engine was overheating and that left him without enough power to compete. What we need now is for his engineer to improve the qualifying setup for his car which will allow us to improve further. Anyway I'm happy with Javi's race and also with Filipe's work; he didn't do a bad job at all given that it's first time out in a GP2 car. For Nurburgring we will see if Ernesto Viso can return and whoever drives for us there should be the second driver for the remaining races as we can't keep changing drivers every weekend."
Javier Villa (driver car 14): "I had clutch problems at the start, the car almost stopped and that meant I lost several places. Then as I was recovering the tear-off visor of another driver ended up in the radiator and caused an increase in the temperature. I went into the pits, cleaned out the radiator and went back to the track but it was still overheating so I stopped to avoid blowing up the engine."
Filipe Albuquerque (driver car 15): "I had a good start gaining a place and I was pushing a bit more than yesterday, with a pace similar to the group in front that had fast drivers like Pantano in it. At mid race I start to notice how the tyres were wearing so I couldn't keep the same pace to the end. Anyway even if the result wasn't very good it's a general fact that on track you finish more or less where you start. I want to thank Alfonso D'Orleans and Racing Engineering for giving me this excellent experience of driving in GP2."