in the 08-09 GP2 Asia Series - 26 JAN 2009
The newly appointed RDD driver scored another podium last week in Bahrain in the sprint race of the third round of the GP2 Asia Series. He is now second in the drivers' championship, ten points behind the leader.
The Renault Driver Development squad member finished second in Bahrain's sprint race which added five points to his total, putting him past Roldan Rodriguez in the drivers' classification, in second position, only ten points behind Kamui Kobayashi. Still, the third round of the GP2 Asia did not start easily for the RDD boy as his Durango machine suffered from braking problems in both Free Practice and in qualifying which saw him only posting the tenth quickest laptime. "We were definitely struggling at the beginning of free practice. I tried to push as hard as I could in qualifying, but between traffic and braking issues, I ended up in tenth position. Qualifying has been our weakest point ever since last year. But I wasn't really worried: we are always quite strong and competitive during the races, so I knew there was an opportunity for me to score big points." It was sunny on the Bahraini track last Friday when the feature race started. As the lights went out, Davide easily gained two positions after Sakon Yamamoto and Marco Bonanomi – respectively 7th and 9th – failed to start. The Italian driver then kept pace with the cars ahead of him. After his mandatory pit stop, Davide was still in 8th, and that's when he put his head down and overtook three cars in the last ten laps, including his championship rival Roldan Rodriguez. He crossed the finish line in 5th place. "I made a good start and managed to keep my position. At the beginning of the first run, my car didn't feel so great, but later on, it felt more balanced. After my pitstop, I could push harder and this helped me start working my way through the field. I finished 5th and considering my pace towards the end of the race, this proves that we can still improve in order to qualify better and fight for the podium in the first race." The following day, Davide started from 4th in the sprint race. The car in front of him failed to start for the formation lap, offering the RDD man a clear track. With no car in front of him, Davide managed a good start that placed him second behind Perez at the end of the first corner. After that, he could never get close enough to the young Mexican to overtake him for the win. Davide crossed the finish line in second place on his 22nd birthday. This great result – along with the fact that Rodriguez failed to score – put Davide Valsecchi in second place in the drivers' championship, with 24 points in total to 34 for Kobayashi. "After the incident on van der Garde's car, I had a clear track in front of me for the start which made my life a little bit easier. I really tried to push after that, but Perez drove really well today and there was nothing more I could have done. I'm really happy with this result: we were really strong today and we have come a long way since free practice. Now I'm second in the championship and even though Kobayashi looks really strong right now, I will continue to fight for the championship, starting with the next race in Qatar". The fourth round of the 08-09 GP2 Asia Series will take place on February 13-14 and will make history as this will be a night event.