Valencia: DPR Direxiv Thursday report

DPR Direxiv ready for close competition With just one day of testing left before the start of the 2006 GP2 Series, the DPR Direxiv team is finalising its plans for the opening race of the season which takes place this weekend at Valencia on ...

DPR Direxiv ready for close competition

With just one day of testing left before the start of the 2006 GP2 Series, the DPR Direxiv team is finalising its plans for the opening race of the season which takes place this weekend at Valencia on the Eastern Spanish coast. As El Cid (one of Spain's most famous national heroes) fought the Moors in Valencia in days gone by, so will DPR Direxiv's two drivers -- Olivier Pla and Clivio Piccione -- take the fight in 2006 to an extremely competitive and close GP2 field.

The French/Monegasque pairing are fired up and ready to go, having made good and steady progress throughout all the official test sessions in February and March. At Valencia today the team had another good day of development and, although not the quickest of the day, both drivers were competitive on both new and used rubber during the afternoon session.

Neither Pla nor Piccione had the opportunity for much running in the morning due to gearbox and electronic issues. Olivier Pla of Toulouse, 24, came to the 4km track today with a slight advantage over his team mate, having raced at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo 3 years ago in Renault's World Series.

"It's not one of my favourites to be honest because there are a lot of slow, 2nd and 3rd gear corners. I'm happy with the test so far although we didn't do a lot of laps this morning because of gearbox and electronic issues. We are making good progress now and the car feels good, with the lap times very close, so we are in good shape for the weekend. I think this year will be a very difficult but open championship, with at least 20 drivers capable of winning races. Most of the GP2 field have won in Formula 3, World Series or F3000 so they know how to win races. It will be very hard, but quite interesting."

Twenty-two-year-old Clivio Piccione echoed Pla's positive feelings about the forthcoming race. "Today went well apart from losing time changing gear ratios (because of the windy conditions) then a gearbox problem, so I only did about 10 laps in the morning. We had some good runs in the afternoon and improved the car by a fair bit, always going in the right direction, so I am looking forward to the weekend and wewill do well. Valencia is quite a tricky circuit with lots of corners but only one high speed one. It's quite demanding so it's going to be a tricky race. It's not an easy track to overtake on so qualifying will be the important thing this weekend."

It has not only been on the track that DPR Direxiv has been preparing for 2006. As well as the newly liveried cars and pit dressing, all featuring the eye-catching blue, flame design, the team will also have the comfort of a new 15 metre (45ft) customer-built race transporter. Built by W H F Coachworks of Hull, the same company which maintains the McLaren F1 trucks, the transporter was specifically designed to accommodate the GP2 cars and equipment. It also contains an office for management, engineers' and drivers' use. The new transporter is guaranteed to make the life of the truckies much easier and, in racing, a happy truckie means a happy team!

-dpr-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Clivio Piccione , Olivier Pla