Javier Villa finishes in the top 10
Following Giorgio Pantano’s exclusion from yesterday’s Sprint Race following his accident with di Grassi in Saturday’s Feature Race, Javier Villa drove the only Racing Engineering entry in today’s event.
Shortly before the start of the race rain began to fall but it had stopped again as the cars lined up on the grid and, although the track was still very slippery in some areas, all the teams opted to use slick tyres. Javier was starting from 17th on the grid following the disqualification of Zuber from yesterday’s results and the young Spaniard made a good start avoiding several cars that were slow away with too much wheelspin on the damp surface.
Over the opening laps Javier drove carefully as a number of cars ran wide and suffered brake-locking moments and by lap 3 he was in 15th place. Lap 5 saw Javier gain a place following a spin from Conway and on the same lap an accident to Valerio saw the deployment of the Safety Car and another accident, this time by Parente, as the Safety Car lined up the drivers saw the Racing Engineering car in its Repsol/Telefónica colours up to 12th.
As the Safety Car pulled into the pits two laps later both Filippi and Nunes, who were running just in front of Javier made contact as they accelerated on the damp track and the Racing Engineering driver, who was lucky to miss both cars, was now in 10th. Within another two laps Javier was up to 9th following Senna’s retirement and he was now involved in a very close battle with Valsecchi and Chandhok.
Suddenly it began to rain again and Grosjean spun promoting Javier to 8th as he began to close on a big battle ahead between Buemi, Kobayashi and di Grassi. The track was getting more and more difficult with some areas such as La Source very wet but further round the track it was still relatively dry. Javier was finding it harder to keep up his pace as the conditions deteriorated and on lap 12 he lost a place to Valsecchi and two laps later he was down to 10th as Chandhok got past.
Over the remaining laps Javier concentrated on not making a mistake and making sure that the chasing Grosjean did not get any closer, he gained another place when Soucek crashed and he crossed the finishing line at the end of a difficult race in 9th position.
Racing Engineering will now be looking forward to Monza in a week’s time where the Spanish team will be doing everything possible to ensure that Giorgio Pantano secures the 2008 GP2 Championship. Both Giorgio and Javier will be looking to secure the maximum amount of points as Racing Engineering continues to fight for the Team Championship.
Alfonso de Orleans Borbón (team principal): "The rain just before the race didn't help. In any case, with so many races on wet tracks, Javi is learning a lot this season. He had a very good start and was able to hold on to a top ten position throughout the race. It's a bit disappointing as points would have been possible for him today."
Javier Villa (driver car 11): "It was a complicated race with some rain again shortly before the race started, however, we were able to start on slicks. There was still a little rain on several places on the track. I was able to make up some positions at the start and in the end P9 is not too bad. I am looking forward to Monza, our last event of the season, where I can hopefully show where we really are."