Manor MP Bidding For More Podiums In Marrakech AutoGP

Auto GP team Manor MP Motorsport is aiming to continue its successful start to the season at Marrakech in Morocco this weekend, 14th/15th April, when the third event of the 2012 campaign gets underway.Arriving in North Africa an excellent second in the team championship, in only its second year in the category, and with drivers Daniël De Jong and Chris van der Drift tied for fourth position in the driver standings, the Netherlands-based squad has enjoyed a tremendous first few races.During rounds one and two at Monza in Italy last month, De Jong secured Manor MP’s first podium of the year in the very first race after an excellent drive through the order from 10th on the grid. The 19-year-old actually took the chequered flag in fourth place but a time penalty for Sergio Campana rightfully promoted De Jong into third. In round two, he unfortunately retired.Team-mate van der Drift, making an eleventh hour return to racing on the Thursday prior to the race weekend, took fifth in the first race but far outweighed that performance with a tremendous drive to second in round two. Helped by a great pit-stop from the Manor MP crew, the 26-year-old ended the outing just 3.5 seconds behind the winner to take the team’s second podium in as many races.Rounds three and four at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, just over a week ago didn’t deliver more podiums but De Jong, in particular, came very close indeed to securing more silverware with a pair of fourth place finishes.Round four was the highlight with the Dutch teenager challenging for the lead at mid-distance and all set for his second rostrum visit of the year. Holding a fine third place with four laps to go, he was unfortunately shuffled back to fourth by Sergey Sirotkin. In round three, De Jong was just 1.5 seconds shy of the podium with another sterling drive.For van der Drift, Valencia wasn’t quite as successful as Monza but he still posted strong points finishes with sixth in the first race – only three seconds back from De Jong in a very close finish – and seventh in the second Spanish encounter, only 0.5 seconds outside the coveted top six at the flag.“It’s been a great start to our second year in Auto GP and, more notably, our first season as Manor MP Motorsport”, said team principal Sander Dorsman, “Taking two podiums at Monza was a fantastic result, Daniël and Chris both did a great job, and in Valencia Daniël was very unlucky not to have another podium.“To be second in the team championship is a great feeling but we’re focused on closing the gap to the top this weekend in Marrakech. It’s a brand new adventure for Manor MP Motorsport but one we’re really looking forward to.”Marrakech street circuit marks an altogether different challenge for the Auto GP competitors than the previous two events of the 2012 season and grip will be at a premium due to the road surface the 550bhp Lola-Zytek cars will be racing on. For that reason, this weekend sees the championship debut of a ‘super-soft’ tyre compound from official supplier Kumho.Following two 30-minute free practice sessions on Friday, 13th April, qualifying will take place at 16.30 (local time). Round five of the 2012 Auto GP season will get underway at 11.10 (local time) on Saturday, 14th April, with round six following at 13.30 (local time) on Sunday, 15th April. Both races will be screened on the Eurosport television network – please check listings for further details.2012 Auto GP Team Standings (after Rd4):2nd Manor MP Motorsport, 74pts2012 Auto GP Driver Standings (after Rd4):=4th Daniël De Jong & Chris van der Drift, 37pts2012 Auto GP Under-21 Driver Standings (after Rd4):5th Daniël De Jong, 37pts

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