The GP2 Asia championship got underway this weekend, with teams competing at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. Fisichella Motor Sport International was in action with Kevin Chen and Andreas Zuber undertaking driving duties for the team.
For Zuber, his weekend fate was almost sealed on Friday. After an extremely strong free practice session in which he finished third fastest behind Kamui Kobayashi and Roldan Rodriguez, Zuber headed into qualifying with huge potential. However, he was forced out of the session on his fast outlap due to an engine problem, putting him at the very back of the grid for Saturday's feature race. His teammate Chen embarked on his first ever GP2 qualifying and secured his place just in front of Zuber for Saturday's start.
In Saturday's 34-lap feature, Andreas made a fantastic start from the back, catapulting into the top ten and aiming to get into the points. However, he had a frustrating battle with Davide Valsecchi and, due to the Durango drivers' early braking, Zuber damaged his front nose. He eventually made the move on Valsecchi but was hit by him and James Jakes, putting an end to his promising race. Kevin Chen was having a steady GP2 debut and building up his experience but his race also ended early after an unlucky spin after his compulsory pitstop.
Chen began from 18th and Zuber from 20th in Sunday's shorter 23-lap sprint race. Zuber made a fantastic start, moving up to P10 on the first lap but as Diego Nunes spun, he collected Zuber on his right rear tyre, putting him out of the race. Chen initially fell to 20th but then made steady progress, passing the chequered flag in 15th position.
Races three and four of the championship will take place in Dubai from5-7 December.
Paolo Coloni, Team Principal: "Unfortunately Andreas' weekend was set in qualifying and it is extremely frustrating for us. He had a fantastic pace in practice and we were fully expecting to fight for the pole. Our car and driver package was so strong, that was our target. Unfortunately the engine failure on the outlap affected the whole weekend from there on and Andreas was put out of both races. It could have been easy for us to score points, even from our starting positions. He did everything right to come back into the top ten and his race pace was great. Kevin had a good debut and he has completed a lot of laps in order to build up his experience. Finishing 15th was a good achievement for him today. Now we look forward to Dubai and there we aim to realise our potential."
Saturday Race Result1. Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP)2. Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS)3. Sakon Yamamoto (ART Grand Prix)DNF. Kevin Chen (FMSI)DNF. Andreas Zuber (FMSI)
Sunday Race Result1. Davide Valsecchi (Durango)2. Earl Bamber (My Qi-Meritus Mahara)3. Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing)15. Kevin Chen (FMSI)DNF. Andreas Zuber (FSMI)Click here for the Official Fisichella Motorsportweb site - designed and built by Racecar