Stefano Coletti press release
First points of the season in Sepang
25/03/2012 - A very good performance in qualifying, useful points in race one and a retirement in race two are the balance of Stefano Coletti's weekend in Sepang (Malaysia), opening round of the 2012 GP2 Series season. In Friday's qualifying the Monegasque placed himself in the fight for the pole position despite the bold choice of using only one set of new tires, saving the second one for the race. The session ended with the fourth quickest time (1'45.577), less than a tenth from the pole.
A perfect start in race one allowed Coletti to gain the third position off turn one and to aim for the second place, held at that point by Fabio Leimer (SWI). A few laps later, the duel ended favoring Davide Valsecchi (I); the fight between Coletti and Leimer for the third position continued until the pit stop that was anticipated by Scuderia Coloni in an attempt to give Stefano some clear track. Traffic unfortunately voided this strategy and slowed the Monegasque down, allowing Max Chilton (GB) to get out of the pits in third. In the final laps, Coletti kept pushing and crossed the finish line in fifth place, harvesting in this way the first ten points of the season.
Coletti produced again a good start in race two before moving an attack to Felipe Nasr (BRA), challenging his third position. In a subsequent overtaking attempt Stefano Coletti went slightly wide and slipped down to sixth. The race afterwards did not offer him further overtaking chances and an increasing tyres degradation gave him some headache in the final stages. A contact with a rival when three laps were to go forced Coletti to an unscheduled pitstop to replace the nose of his car and, considered the impossibility of scoring points, the team decided to retire the car.
Stefano Coletti: "We were fairly happy after qualifying, considering that we were close to the pole despite using only one set of new tyres. In race one I had potential to end on the podium but some traffic when back to track after my pit stop played against our strategy; ten points are anyway very important for the standing. In race two I unfortunately suffered an abnormal tires wear that will be investigated by our engineers in the coming days".
Stefano Coletti is currently ninth in the classification with 10 points. The GP2 Series will be back on track next 22 April in Bahrain.