MONRAS FIFTH ON HOME SOIL, BUT ACCIDENTS TAKE THEIR TOLL... Miki Monras obtained another excellent finish for MW Arden in today's opening GP3 Series through the streets of Valencia. From eighth on the grid, the Spaniard drove a clean opening lap...
MONRAS FIFTH ON HOME SOIL, BUT ACCIDENTS TAKE THEIR TOLL...
Miki Monras obtained another excellent finish for MW Arden in today's opening GP3 Series through the streets of Valencia. From eighth on the grid, the Spaniard drove a clean opening lap to move up to fifth, although he soon slipped to sixth when team-mate Michael Christensen edged ahead. The duo then ran in close formation until the fourth of 14 laps, when the Dane retired after clipping the tyre wall at Turn Two -- a disappointing result for the youngster, who had been on course for his best finish of the season. That allowed Monras to reclaim fifth, a position he retained to the end.
Leonardo Cordeiro was out of luck in the third MW Arden entry -- he was one of no fewer than eight drivers who failed to complete the opening lap. The Brazilian managed to pick his way through a multiple accident at Turn Two, but then crashed out of the race a few corners later.
"The car felt very good in qualifying and I was pleased to qualify eighth. I might be Spanish, but this track is relatively new and I have never driven here before, unlike those who started ahead of me. I might even have been able to challenge for pole position, but the red flag came out just as I was going for a time and I had to abort the lap. I genuinely believe that cost me a place at the front of the grid and I was confident I'd be able to make progress in the race.
"I made a good start and just managed to avoid one of the first-lap accidents, but the race soon became quite difficult. It was hard to maintain a consistent rhythm at first, because I didn't feel wholly comfortable with the way the tyres were behaving, but the balance improved as the race wore on and I was able to catch Roberto Merhi, although I couldn't pass him. It has been a positive day, though, and I hope to finish on the podium tomorrow."
"This has been a very bitter-sweet weekend, so far. After all the problems that have afflicted me during the first two meetings, it was a great relief to have a reasonably straightforward qualifying run and to put myself in a strong position to fight at the front. I made a decent start, avoided all the chaos and then managed to wrest fifth place from Miki. I didn't know whether it would be possible to make any more progress once the race settled down, but the car felt good and I was looking forward to a strong points finish... for a few laps, anyway. Valencia is wider than most street circuits, but some corners are still very tight and don't permit you to make even small mistakes. My apologies to the team, because that should have been a good result. I will do my best to make amends tomorrow."
"Track conditions were far from ideal during free practice, but they improved in qualifying and I was happy enough with my performance. I know 18th place might not sound like much, but this is a very competitive series and I am still learning. We made a few small set-up changes for the race, but I didn't really have chance to find out how effective they would be. I gained lots of places on the run to Turn Two and managed to avoid the big pile-up on the opening lap, but soon afterwards I ran too wide over a kerb and spun back across the track into the wall -- a real disappointment because I felt sure I was going to have a good race. That's one of the potential perils of street circuits, I guess. I am determined to do a better job tomorrow and I'm extremely encouraged by Miki's pace, because it shows the team is competitive."