Rock... and roll ! The opening round of the GP2 series didn't exactly go to plan for Racing Engineering, with a number of problems arising to test everyone in the team, but the lessons learned will provide good experience for what promises to be...
Rock... and roll !
The opening round of the GP2 series didn't exactly go to plan for Racing Engineering, with a number of problems arising to test everyone in the team, but the lessons learned will provide good experience for what promises to be a fierce battle in the championship this year.
With tricky conditions owing to the lack of grip on the track, and unfortunately both Adam Carroll and Javier Villa, like so many of their competitors, were caught out by traffic and yellow flags on the tight circuit in Valencia. Adam lined up in thirteenth on the grid, while Javier was on the last row after a spin. It meant both drivers were in for a struggle in the race on a circuit where it is famously difficult to overtake.
Javier had a problem and almost stalled at the start. He had to limp around to the pits to be restarted, losing two laps in the process. Adam also had a problem, dropping a number of places at the start before fighting strongly back up the field. Javier was understandably unable to make up the time lost, but nonetheless pushed hard to finish 18th. Adam was one of the very few drivers to overtake anyone, muscling by a number of drivers before being tapped into a spin by Xandi Negrao with two laps to go. He recovered to 14th.
Adam and Javier had a good start, and an aggressive approach allowed them to move up the field. A few laps before the end of the race, Adam was fighting for 7th place. As he looked for a way past, the Ulsterman was caught out by an early braking Valles before launching over and rolling a number of times, finally coming to rest in the gravel trap at turn three. As the marshals rushed to his aid, Adam climbed serenely from his broken car, removed his helmet, waved and grinned widely as he acknowledged the applauding fans for their concern. Javier finished 9th.
Adam Carroll : "Race 1 was the toughest race I've ever done. I made a bad start and was lucky not to stall but I worked my way back up. After the pit-stop I overtook Xandy Negrao but then felt him hit me from behind. I spun but, luckily, I didn't lose much ground. Race 2 has been busy as well. I am lucky I'm okay. I knew as soon as I saw the sky that I was going to roll. It's actually the first time I've ever rolled in my 14 years of motor sport! Otherwise, I feel pretty confident for the rest of the season. There's still a few things that we need to do but I'm sure we can go on from here and just improve all the time."
Javier Villa : "It's been a positive week-end overall. I had a problem at the start of Race 1 which meant I was two laps down straight away, but the car felt good and I gained more experience. Race 2 was much better: I gained two positions at the start and I've been able to push hard all the way. At the end, the car was oversteering a lot, but I finished 9th. I'm quite happy."
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon : "The team did a great job this week-end and I'm really proud of them. Thank you to everybody. The cars performed better and better as we fine tuned the set-up and found more performance. It paid off : Adam could have finished 5th in Race 2. He's OK, which is the most important thing. Now... we need to fix the car! In the end, this week-end has been encouraging and we're looking forward to Imola in two weeks. "