Mar 24

Coletti claims Sprint Race (updated)

Rapax driver wins Sunday race at Sepang International Circuit

GP2 - Stefano Coletti (Rapax)He wanted it so badly! Stefano Coletti took a lights-to-flag win in this morning’s Sprint Race at Sepang International Circuit and made up for yesterday’s disappointment.

The Monegasque driver made a stunning start from sixth on the grid to claim the lead, then kept Felipe Nasr at bay to cross the finish line eight tenths ahead of the Brazilian. Mitch Evans scored a podium finish on his first GP2 race weekend with third place.

Stéphane Richelmi made a good start from reverse pole, but not as good as Felipe Nasr and Mitch Evans who both attacked the Monegasque driver at the entrance of Turn 1. Coletti had his own agenda however: he made a blazing start from sixth and made his way round the outside of Turn 1 to take the lead. He immediately put his head down and tried to build as much of a gap as possible. Behind him, Nasr had disposed of Richelmi and started to hunt down the leader. Unfortunately for the Carlin man, Coletti managed a two second gap and stayed in control of his pace and tyre degradation.

There was more drama further down the field as a slow start from James Calado dropped him in the middle of the pack with little room to manoeuvre. The Brit collided with Fabio Leimer’s rear wheel which sent him crashing into Julian Leal and Sam Bird. Leimer could continue, but the other three retired prematurely.

As Coletti kept control of the proceedings with Nasr in tow, Richelmi started to struggle on his tyres and began feeling the pressure from a faster Evans. With six laps to go, the DAMS man locked up his tyres and ran too wide allowing the New Zealander to claim third into the final corner on lap 16. The final stages of the race saw even more casualties in the top eight: Leimer who was running in sixth also had a big moment and ran wide at Turn 11 and dropped out of the points.

There was no such drama at the front as Coletti perfectly managed his race and tyres until the chequered flag, enjoying a third GP2 win and taking the lead in the drivers’ standings. Behind Nasr and Evans, Richelmi retained fourth ahead of Johnny Cecotto, Simon Trummer, rookie Conor Daly and Rene Binder.

In the drivers’ standings, Coletti leads with 36 points over Leimer. Nasr is third on 24 points with Calado fourth on 18 points. Round 2 of the GP2 Series will take place in four weeks time at Bahrain International Circuit.

GP2 - Felipe Nasr (Carlin), Stefano Coletti (Rapax), Mitch Evans (Arden International)


Kuala Lumpur– Sprint race
Stefano Coletti
Felipe Nasr
Mitch Evans
Arden International
Stéphane Richelmi
Johnny Cecotto
Arden International
Simon Trummer
Conor Daly
Hilmer Motorsport
Rene Binder
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Jolyon Palmer
Kevin Giovesi
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Tom Dillmann
Fabio Leimer
Racing Engineering
Marcus Ericsson
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Sergio Canamasas
Caterham Racing
Daniel Abt
ART Grand Prix
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
MP Motorsport
Rio Haryanto
Barwa Addax Team
Pal Varhaug
Hilmer Motorsport
Jake Rosenzweig
Barwa Addax Team
Nathanaël Berthon
Trident Racing
Kevin Ceccon
Trident Racing
Not Classified
Sam Bird
Julian Leal
Racing Engineering
James Calado
ART Grand Prix
Fastest Lap : Nathanaël Berthon (Trident Racing) – 1:48.780 on lap 18

source: GP2 Series


An uneven start to the season for DAMS!

The drivers were all champing at the bit so it was no surprise that the opening round of the 2013 GP2 Championship was a pretty hectic one! Although the DAMS drivers didn’t have the best of qualifying sessions, they both made great comebacks in the races. Marcus Ericsson didn’t have much luck and failed to score, while Stéphane Richelmi fought his corner well and gave the French squad 12 points in the teams’ championship.

As always qualifying plays a crucial role in the way the weekend turns out. Unfortunately, Ericsson and Richelmi got caught up in traffic and did not manage to make the most of their level of performance. They lined up in thirteenth and fifteenth places on the grid for the first race right in the middle of a squabbling pack.

Ericsson made a great getaway and tried to fight his way up through the pack on the first lap during which he unfortunately got caught up in a collision that put an end to the Swede’s race. Richelmi was also tagged by another car at the start of the race dropping him back to twenty-second position. He made a fantastic comeback and broke into the top 10 finishing eighth at the flag, which gave him pole for the next day’s heat.

The Monegasque made a good start but was quickly passed by Coletti and Nasr. He was solidly installed in third saving his tyres, and looked set for a top-3 finish until he missed his braking in the closing laps opening the door to Evans. He saw the flag in fourth place. His team-mate who started from the second-last place on the grid made a great fight back, but he would have needed a few more laps to finish higher than thirteenth.

François Sicard, general manager: “It’s a slightly disappointing start so we’re not all that happy with the results. But it’s mainly a question of circumstances. It all began in qualifying when the drivers couldn’t get in a clear lap. In the race they showed their speed and they were able to save their tyres. We know how quick Marcus is, no doubt about that, and Stéphane proved over the weekend that he’s capable of raising his game and fighting at the front. Overall, we’re happy with the twelve points he scored for us as we came from a long way back. We’re reassured about the car’s performance. Now, we’re going to work very hard to arrive in Bahrain in an even stronger position.”

Marcus Ericsson: “Obviously, I’m disappointed for the team and for myself to be leaving here without even scoring a point. The whole weekend was spoilt by traffic in qualifying and in the race. My retirement in the first heat meant that I had to start from the last row on Sunday. However, I discovered just how quick the car is and made a good comeback. I just needed a few more laps to score points. I’m sure we’ll have the potential to fight at the front in the next race.”

Stéphane Richelmi: “My overall feeling is one of satisfaction. First of all, my thanks to the team for the great job they did throughout the weekend. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to start from nearer the front in the first race. This year DAMS has given me a very good car and it helped me to show what I’m capable of. I’m very happy to have made a good comeback in the first heat, but much less so about my start in the sprint race, and also to have missed out on a top-three finish on Sunday by so little. But we’ve got the speed and I can’t wait for the next race in Bahrain.”

Next round: Sakhir (Bahrain) 20-21 April

source: dams.fr

ART Grand Prix

ART Grand Prix opens 2013 GP2 season with a podium at Sepang

ART Grand Prix started the ninth season of the G2 Championship Series on the right foot this weekend when their two drivers, James Calado and Daniel Abt, displayed a high level of competitiveness despite the extreme climatic conditions that prevailed on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. The British driver finished on the podium in the first race after a convincing and intelligent drive.

James Calado qualified in second place on the starting grid for the first race and despite starting on the dirty side of the track, he fought back and held fast to third place. After his mandatory pit stop, James was in the same place and after saving his tires, increased the pace in the final quarter of the race. James then passed Stefano Coletti and was hot on the rear wheels of Fabio Leimer at the finish, giving ART Grand Prix a podium finish to get the 2013 championship off to a solid start.

In the race 2 , the British racer started 7th place on the reverse grid and made slight contact with Julian Leal as he braked for the first corner and ended up with two wheels on the grass. As a result he lost grip and control of his car and crashed hard into Julian Leal. The stewards then handed James a penalty that will see him lose ten places on the grid for the next race in Bahrain on April 20.

Meanwhile, the first weekend of GP2 racing for Daniel Abt was compromised by his qualifying session, forcing him to rely heavily on race results. Indeed, the young German was unable to defend his chances as a result of an accumulation of minor setbacks. Starting from 21st place on the grid, he was forced to retire after a small deviation off track that had great consequences as his car went airborne. Daniel then started race 2 from 23rd and he fought his way up to 16th by the end with a solid race.

ART Grand Prix now prepares the next GP2 Series races that will be held on the 20th and 21st of April in Bahrain.

James Calado: “ I missed pole position by four thousands as I made a mistake on my fastest lap, showing how great our potential is. I had too much wheel spin at the start because my tires were cold, but strategy was always going to be crucial in such conditions and the timing of our pit stop was perfect. I overtook Coletti and held a gap with Leimer to have clean air and save my tires. P2 was the maximum I could do and it’s a nice way to start the season. Unfortunately, a car braked really early coming into the first turn of the second race. I could not avoid it and hit it. That was the end of my race.”

Daniel Abt: “ The problem started in qualifying when we were not able to do a lap on the second set of tires because of a small technical problem and delayed strategy. In race 1, the pace wasn’t too bad and the tyres were still in good shape but I went wide and when I rejoined the track the car got stuck on the curb and jumped in the air. Then the engine went. In second race I could make up some positions but it wasn’t good enough to hope for the top 10. We really need to work hard to improve for Bahrain and have a bit more luck to start higher on the grid.”

Frédéric Vasseur: “ The performance was good and consistent from the beginning to the end of the weekend and this is the main satisfaction of this first appointment. James’ podium reflects our potential that should allow us to fight for the win on a regular basis. We have a good base on which to build for the future. Daniel was unlucky at a crucial moment of the weekend but he stayed focused and his performance in race two bodes well.”

source: art-grandprix.com



GP2 Series returned for its ninth season, with the opening round at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia.

Johnny Cecotto returns to the Series for his fourth season, whilst GP3 Championship winner, Mitch Evans, steps up into the category for his first year.

The weekend was surprisingly a dry one on track, with the threat of the Sepang showers looming for the afternoon session only. Evans was fourth on track and Cecotto seventh for the Friday morning practice session, which saw the team make use of the extra set of primes, a new tyre regulation for 2013. Despite food poisoning, Evans qualified sixth in his first ever visit to the Sepang circuit. Cecotto qualified in fourteenth place, but was later penalised for an incident during the session with Sam Bird. The Venezuelan started from last position on the grid.

Both drivers made a great start for Race One, Evans fighting early with Felipe Nasr and James Calado, to move up to third place after the first lap. Cecotto halved his way through the grid to thirteen place. It was a race not missing in incidents, Marcus Ericsson colliding with Jolyon Palmer on lap one and the MP Motorsport newcomer Adrian Quaife-Hobbs collided with his team-mate on lap four. Evans made an early pit stop on lap six, having struggled to keep Nasr & Calado off his tail. He maintained seventh place for most of the race but tyre wear was damaging and he finished in tenth place, picking up his first point in his inaugural GP2 race. Cecotto was handed a drive through penalty mid race for ignoring yellow flags and pitted later, although not hindering his early efforts he finished in twelfth place.

Once again, in Race Two, Evans and Cecotto made great starts to fourth and fifth place respectively. Calado made a charge on Leal on lap one and ended their race, which Evans narrowly avoided. Calado was later penalised and will face a 10place grid penalty in Bahrain. Evans overtook Stephane Richelmi on lap 16 and drove to a podium finish. Cecotto followed 7seconds behind him finishing in fifth place, picking up his first points of the season.

The team leave Malaysia with 17points and stand fifth in the Championship. 

Mitch Evans comments:

“For me, I had to learn the track and with these tyres had to get as much time out on track, as they would only last a few laps. My first proper lap was decent and there was time in me, so I pushed on for another lap. I finished the session P4, which was very surprising, but I was pleased with that. I felt safe to say that I knew the track, so the focus was on qualifying. I knew there was still more time to come from me, I was happy with the car, so I just had to try to get lap together.

During Qualifying I was feeling rough, with food poisoning. I knew we had good speed in practice, so I was hoping we could translate into the qualifying session. 1st set of tyres, I made a mistake on my first 1st push lap and ruined the rest of that run. The car felt good, so it was down to me to get a good lap. 2nd set push lap I had traffic, so had to put it together in my last lap but tyres had gone past their best. It was a good effort to be 3 tenths off and p6. It was my first qualifying so you never know what is going to happen, I was satisfied with the outcome.

Race 1 was my first ever start in the car and thought it was going to be difficult – an unknown. The drivers were challenging for space in front of me, but I managed to overtake Calado and Nasr at T4 on the first lap 3rd place, after that I struggled with the tyres and car felt harder to drive. After the third lap, I kept dropping down, so we pitted early. With the long stint on primes I was hoping to finish p8 but had no tyres left with 15mins to go. I brought it in in the best position I could and finished tenth. I am pretty happy with for my first weekend. Id set a goal to get points in first race and succeeded. We have the potential so think we can improve the balance to my liking for the second race.

In race two I got a decent start again, I went around the outside of a few cars at turn 1 and got myself into sixth. I was really lucky to avoid an accident at turn 4 and I then benefited from it making up another two positions. The cars balance was much improved for my driving for this race, so I was able to stay with the front three and still able to save the tyres at the same time. I seemed to have decent pace so I conserved the tyres until the last few laps and had a challenged on Richelmi for third place. Fortunately he made a mistake and I got by and then pulled away from him to cross the line in third. It was a big step forward from race one, many good improvements were made. I think we can be satisfied with the weekend and hopefully continue our progress to Bahrain.”

Johnny Cecotto Jnr comments:

“We started the free practice very well and the balance of the car felt very good from the first laps. Finally with these temperatures the tyres work and we had a good balance.

We went very confident of doing well into the qualifying session but we were a bit unlucky. You get only one lap on each set of tyres and we only have two sets, on the first set there were yellow flags in the last corner and on the second set there was a car that obstructed my lap while coming out of the pit lane.

I’m very happy about the race today, starting from the last position it wasn’t an easy race but we managed to make the best of it. Unfortunately we got a drive-through, like seven other drivers, for being quick in a sector that is very long and although I paid attention, despite having no traffic, I was half a second quicker in that sector the following lap showing I had slowed. Despite this, we had great pace throughout the whole race and without the drive through we could have finished top eight, which would have been amazing for the starting position.

I’m very happy about how the weekend ended after the way we started it, we brought home some important points for the championship. I had a very good start and managed to gain a lot of positions in the first lap. We tried to make the setup better than it was in race one, although it was already very good but it didn’t quite work the way we thought so we had a bit of trouble with the tyre degradation in the last laps, I could just manage to maintain the 5th place.”

source: arden-motorsport.com

Racing Eng.

Opening lap incident ruins the day for both Racing Engineering drivers in the Sepang Sprint Race.

There was a threat of rain as the cars lined up on the grid for today’s 22 lap Sprint Race and as the lights went off both Julián Leal and Fabio Leimer made good starts from 4th and 8th respectively. Julián was up to second as the cars entered the first corner but he lost a couple of places under breaking to be 5th on the exit. As the cars entered the fourth corner Calado, following a slow start, made contact with Fabio and ran off onto the grass, as he resumed the track he made very heavy contact with Julián and Bird forcing all three cars into immediate retirement.

Fabio was able to continue but the Racing Engineering car had received damage to the rear in the accident and was suffering from vibrations although the young Swiss driver was still in 6th place and chasing Cecotto. Initially Fabio was able to set a competitive pace and after 3 laps he was 1.0s behind Cecotto and 0.6s ahead of Trummer and he was able to keep these gaps constant for the next 5 laps.

By the 10th lap Fabio began to close up on Cecotto but the Racing Engineering car was in turn coming under pressure from Trummer as the cars from 2nd to 7th were all running with just a few seconds separating them.

As the race entered its last 5 laps Fabio was finding that the damage caused by the opening lap incident with Calado was causing excessive wear on his rear tyres and an unexpected loss of grip saw the Racing Engineering car run through a gravel trap dropping him to the 12th place where he finished the race.

Although today did not bring the hoped for results both Fabio and Julián have shown they will both be fighting for race wins and podium positions in the remaining races of the season. Racing Engineering will now be returning to their Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for Bahrain on the 19th and 20th of April.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering:

“Obviously these are very disappointing results for both drivers. As a team we were in a good position to score a lot of points, but in the end we scored none. Julian had a very good start, but wasn’t able to keep a good position during the fights through the opening corners. Unfortunately his race was finished very early by Calado crashing into him; there was nothing he could have done to avoid this. Fabio was also fighting in the points, but was also hit by Calado on the rear right side of his car, which didn’t help him to manage his tyres for the rest of the race. He was in 6th position and towards the end of the race went off track finishing in P12. It’s disappointing as, given our starting positions, expectations were high and even though he didn’t do it on purpose, both cars were affected by Calado’s contact with them.

We will rebuild car and work on being strong again in Bahrain.”

Fabio Leimer:

“It was a quite hard race today. I had a really good start immediately overtaking Calado. Then in corner 1, I chose the wrong line by going to the inside. Normally it’s the better choice, but I lost 2 positions there. Just after, in corner 4, Calado tried to overtake me on the inside when I was already closing for the turn in. He touched the rear of my car and unfortunately he also hit Julian and took him out of the race. After that it was just driving in the field, but I do not know why, I had quite a lot of vibration on the rear of the car. It’s likely it came from the crash with Calado. With 5 laps to go I therefore started to struggle with the rear tyres and went off the track. I came back, but it’s disappointing to lose 6 places in the end. Overall for sure this was a strong weekend. We were quick in qualifying and won the first race, so I think we are on the right path, and I think in Bahrain we can fight! for the win again.”

Julián Leal:

“It was a very short race for me. It was a shame as I expected a very good position today. The car was OK, so I think if we had finished the race, we could have been on the podium. But this is how races are and we have to look ahead and continue to work into this direction. It was nevertheless a positive weekend as we saw the car is fast and I saw that I am able to be at the front.”

source: racing-engineering.com


coming soon

source: carlin.co.uk

Russian Time logo

Russian Time

coming soon


Caterham Racing logo

Caterham Racing

Ma Qing Hua certified unfit to compete in GP2 sprint race

Caterham Racing has confirmed that due to ill health Ma Qing Hua will not be taking part in the Malaysian Grand Prix GP2 sprint race today.

After falling ill on Friday afternoon Ma took the decision to try and compete in the Saturday GP2 Feature race, which he completed despite his illness. Following the race he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis leading to extreme dehydration by the medical team on track at Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

Ma Qing Hua has been confirmed as unfit to drive today in the GP2 sprint race by medical staff at Sepang International Circuit and the FIA.

This is a great shame for Ma and everyone at Caterham Racing wishes him a speedy recovery.


Sepang International Circuit – GP2 Sprint Race

  • Sunday 24th March 2013
  • Car #14 Sergio Canamasas – P15
  • Car #15 Ma Qing Hua – DNS
  • Race length: 22 laps
  • Lap Length: 5.543 Km
  • Tyre use: P Zero Orange hard

On Sunday morning Caterham Racing GP2 driver Ma Qing Hua was certified as unfit to drive in the GP2 sprint race by medical staff at Sepang International Circuit and the FIA, having been diagnosed with gastroenteritis. This was a great blow for the Chinese driver who managed to make it through the feature race on Saturday, in spite of his illness.

Sergio Canamasas was left to fly the flag for Caterham Racing in front of the Malaysian crowd and made yet another admirable start, from that point running twelfth for the majority of the race. By lap 16 the tyre degradation was high and Sergio could not maintain position, slipping back to fifteenth at the flag.

It has been a challenging weekend, but the team have worked tirelessly in the Malaysian heat and now look ahead to Bahrain and the next rounds on 20th and 21st April.

Caterham Racing Team Manager Phill Spencer: “It was a shame to be running just one car today but Ma was unable to race due to his stomach virus. Sergio started 19th due to the incident in yesterday’s race and made another good start. He was running a strong 12th but with six laps to go the tyres started to drop off and he lost several places. Now we move on to Bahrain and hope everyone is fit and well for the next rounds.”

Caterham Racing Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: “It was a tough day, especially for Ma who wanted to race and has the heart of a tiger, but sadly because of his illness he could not compete and we hope he improves quickly. Sergio started close to the back after the problem on Saturday which was always going to make his sprint race difficult but he drove well and brought home the car in fifteenth. In some ways we started from fresh today as we learnt nothing about the tyres in race one after the incident. If we had known yesterday what we know today we may have changed the setup slightly to reduce tyre wear. However, now we have plenty of data and will be well equipped for Bahrain.”

Sergio Canamasas “I made another good start and was trying to pass for 11th place and pushed hard but my tyres didn’t last and I suffered more than the guys around me. In the end the tyre degradation meant I just didn’t have the pace and dropped back. I hope in Bahrain we will be able to solve this and I’m looking forward to working on that with my engineers. Now I have more understanding of the 2013 tyres and the need to be smooth with the car so I think we have the potential to be quick – it is just a matter of putting everything together. “

source: caterham-racing.com

Barwa Addax

coming soon

source: addaxteam.com

Rapax Team


coming soon

source: rapaxteam.com

Trident Racing
Trident Racing

coming soon

source: tridentracing.it

Hilmer Motorsport logo
Hilmer Motorsport

The german GP2 Team Hilmer Motorsport could achieve an impressive start into the 2013 season of the GP2 Series during the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit.

The young racingdriver Connor Daly from the US, could place his car ah 7th position at the sprint race today. After qualifying 16th position (Daly) und 24th position teammate (Verhaug), Connor Daly finished 13th position on Saturday’s main race, while Pal Verhaug 15th. At temperatures around 32 degree Celsius and humidity of over 60% all pilots had to fight hard with during the whole weekend. At sprint race over 22 laps today, Connor Daly pushed very hard and succeeded on 7th position. Also Daly placed second quickest lap of the race. Pal Verhaug had a harder time, so he finished 19th. In general it was a successful entry into the GP2 Series for the Bavarian team which has acquired Ocean Racing mid of January, though the preparation time for the season was very short.

source: Hilmer Motorsport

Venezuela GP Lazarus
Venezuela GP Lazarus

coming soon

source: teamlazarus.it

MP Motorsport logo
MP Motorsport

MP Motorsport Ushers In New Era With GP2 Series Debut

MP Motorsport began its new era as a GP2 Series entrant at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia over the weekend, 23rd/24th March, with a competitive team performance and a best result of 13th place for rising talent Daniël De Jong.

Running as part of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s Malaysian Grand Prix event, the first two rounds of the season offered a mixed outcome for the Dutch squad – De Jong and team-mate Adrian Quaife-Hobbs bouncing back from unfortunate race one contact to deliver encouraging race two performances.

De Jong started the event very impressively in practice with the 11th fastest time, within just 0.6 seconds of the pace, while Quaife-Hobbs was 22nd, but in qualifying the 2012 AUTO GP Champion headed the MP Motorsport charge by securing 14th on the grid for race one with De Jong 20th.

Unfortunately, hopes of a strong debut race in GP2 for British category rookie Quaife-Hobbs went awry on only the third lap of the opener on Saturday while dicing with De Jong. Attempting to slice up the inside at Turn 15, Quaife-Hobbs’ car made contact with the Dutchman’s and the pair were both forced to retire.

Seeking to make amends for the Feature Race incident during Sunday’s ‘Sprint’ event, Quaife-Hobbs was able to negotiate several incidents on the opening lap to impressively climb from 25th on the grid into the top 16 where he remained for the first seven laps.

De Jong, though, enjoyed an even better start and scythed through the order from 23rd into 13th position by the end of lap one as he too avoided the collisions. At the halfway point, De Jong held his place on the cusp of the top 12 with Quaife-Hobbs in 17th place.

Although the MP Motorsport racers lost one position each shortly after, De Jong produced a great pass on Sergio Canamasas at the last hairpin on lap 18 and fended off the Spaniard as he attempted to fight back. On the penultimate lap though, Marcus Ericsson managed to edge the MP driver back to 14th having already got ahead of Quaife-Hobbs several laps before.

Taking the chequered flag on lap 22 in 14th position, De Jong was only three seconds shy of the top 10 to cap a strong outing while Quaife-Hobbs took 17th in the end, roughly five seconds further back from his team-mate.

“Both guys had good speed in race two, it’s always difficult starting so far back but they both did a good job”, commented team principal Sander Dorsman, “Daniël missed the boat a bit in qualifying, it wasn’t where he should be – I really think he and Adrian can both be further up near that top 10.

“We have to be realistic, GP2 is so competitive and there are so many experienced teams so it takes time to be as competitive as some of those guys. I’m happy Sunday was a lot better than Saturday though, everyone is learning a lot and I’m sure Bahrain will be better for the team.”

Rounds three and four of the 2013 GP2 Series are scheduled to take place four weeks from now, on 20th/21st April, at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.

source: manormpmotorsport.com



The latest generation of GP2 drivers have given their thumbs up to Pirelli’s newest GP2 tyres, which have been designed to replicate the characteristics of the 2013-specification Formula One tyres.

The first round of the GP2 championship took place in the heat and humidity of Sepang, exactly as was the case last year, with Pirelli nominating the P Zero Orange hard tyre and P Zero Yellow soft tyre – an even more extreme selection than the tyres chosen for Formula One (hard and medium) or for the Malaysian GP2 round last year, which were also hard and medium compound. Each driver has an allocation of three sets of the harder compound and two sets of the softer compound in GP2.

The new GP2 tyres have been designed to put the emphasis on performance, challenging the drivers to get the most out of them with the correct tyre management to enhance their performance. This was clear from the very beginning, with the times recorded in free practice actually faster than last year’s qualifying times.

Malaysia is one of the toughest tests that exists for the tyres, thanks its high temperatures in excess of 30 degrees centigrade, frequent monsoon rainfall and abrasive track surface.

Rapax driver Stefano Coletti went quickest in the half-hour qualifying session on Friday, scoring four additional points. All the drivers apart from Rapax’s Simon Trummer used the soft tyres. Most drivers opted for two runs on the softer tyre, using both sets allocated to them, with the top 14 drivers all within one second.

At the start of the 31-lap feature race on Saturday, Racing Engineering driver Fabio Leimer made an excellent getaway to move straight up to second behind Coletti, both drivers having started the race on soft tyres. Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer adopted a different strategy, starting from P22 on the hard tyre but taking the lead on lap 12 when the drivers in front of him made their mandatory pit stops. Palmer moved onto the soft tyre on lap 21, finishing sixth and making up 16 places compared to his grid position, thanks to a clever tyre strategy. Russian Time driver Sam Bird ran a different strategy based on using the hard tyre twice but a drive-through penalty meant that he could do no better than seventh, from a start position of fifth.

Coletti pitted on lap six to move from softs to hards, with Leimer making the same move on lap 11. Although Leimer rejoined behind his Italian rival, this meant that Coletti had greater tyre degradation in the closing stages of the race, which turned out to be crucial.

Leimer got past Coletti with four laps to go to take the lead and then his first win since Barcelona in 2011. ART driver James Calado – who had made his stop from softs to hards on lap nine – also overtook Coletti in the closing stages to claim the runner-up spot.

DAMS driver Stephane Richelmi finished the feature race in eighth, which meant that he started Sunday’s sprint race from pole. Having lost out on victory in the feature race, Coletti made a great start to take the lead of the sprint race on the first lap, which he was never to use despite a strong challenge from Carlin’s Felipe Nasr, who had saved his tyres for a big push at the end.

Reigning GP3 champion Mitch Evans, the recipient of a Pirelli reward, also put in an excellent performance to finish on the podium in his first GP2 race weekend. All the drivers used the P Zero Yellow hard compound tyres for the sprint race.

Coletti said: “I made an excellent start and once I was in front I was able to look after my tyres. It was a big step forward from yesterday. I didn’t push on the tyres, so I had some left when Nasr pushed.”

Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola commented: “As expected, Malaysia provided a very big test for the GP2 tyres, but despite their more extreme nature this year, the drivers all did an extremely good job to manage both the hard and the soft compound. Coming into this round, none of the drivers had any extensive experience of these tyres, so this makes their mature approach even more impressive. Palmer used an interesting alternative strategy in the feature race, showing how a clever tyre strategy can lead to an impressive gain in places. In the sprint race, Coletti showed how much he had been able to learn about tyre management from the previous race, so congratulations to him and to Fabio Leimer for their wins this weekend.”

This year’s GP2 season takes in 11 rounds and 22 races. The next round of the Pirelli-equipped series takes place in Bahrain from April 19-21.

source: pirelli.com