DAMS took part in free practice and qualifying for the 8th round of the GP2 Series Championship yesterday, part of the programme for the European F1 Grand Prix on the new Valencia circuit in Spain.
Kamui Kobayashi and Jérôme d’Ambrosio discovered a track laid out along the port that had been used for the recent Americas Cup. The track is very demanding of both men and machines with slippery asphalt as it was still very dusty plus a number of heavy braking zones. In free practice Jérôme finished 7th and Kamui 20th.
Track conditions were difficult in qualifying this afternoon. In the air it was 30° and on the track 45° subjecting both tyres and cars to a tough test. Right at the start of qualifying the DAMS team had a big scare when Kamui had a huge shunt. He was unhurt but his cat was too badly damaged to enable him to continue the session. He finished 25th while Jérôme was more successful and he set the 6th best time overall after dialling in his car in the morning. His position should enable him to score points and have a good weekend.
Eric Boullier, team manager: “We’ve got mixed feelings this evening. We showed that we’ve got quick cars and we can really go for it in the race with Jérôme who had a good qualifying session. On the other hand, Kamui’s accident is going to give the mechanics a lot of work tonight. He hasn’t any hope of scoring points tomorrow barring exceptional circumstances. It’s frustrating but we’ll do our best for both our drivers tomorrow, and hope that we’ll have cause for celebration at the end of the race.”
Jérôme d’Ambrosio7th time in free practice, 6th time in qualifying, 6th on the grid tomorrow
“I’m happy with my first day. For several races now we’ve had the speed to mix it with the front-runners and we’ll show it tomorrow. I didn’t have any problems during free practice, and I was able to learn the circuit and then set the sixth-quickest time in qualifying. It’s encouraging and above all we can score points tomorrow.”
Kamui Kobayashi20th time in free practice, 25th time in qualifying, 25th on the grid tomorrow
“ What can I say? It was completely my fault. I lost control of the car on the exit from a corner and hit the guardrail twice. It’s pretty badly damaged and the team will have a lot of work this evening to repair it. I’d like to thank them in advance for their efforts. It’ll be almost impossible to score points tomorrow, but I’ll do my very best and I won’t give up.”