AutoGP Marrakech Race 2 drivers’ quotes

Chris Van der Drift won Sunday’s race 2 making the most of new tyres and a late pit-stop strategy. The kiwi driver of MP Motorsport finished just ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, while Giacomo Ricci was third after Pål Varhaug was handed a 25” penalty for cutting a chicane. Here is what they said after the race.Chris Van der DriftFitting new soft tyres at the start of the race seemed the key to your strategy today, how much impact did it have on the race?“A big one, that’s sure. You know, we’re still learning how to make the most of the Kumho tyres, and in this race we had a supersoft spec that we never tried before, so it wasn’t easy. Yesterday we were caught a bit by surprise by the tyre wear, but we knew that today was going to be different. The soft compound worked really well, I could push as much as I wanted for 16 laps, it was amazing”.You were battling with Sirotkin, but after the pit-stop it was a “virtual” battle, as you couldn’t see what the other was doing. Was it difficult?“I was behind when he pitted, so I knew that to make our strategy work I had to push hard. I couldn’t see Sergey but I did knew that my laptimes were good and I was consistent, so at some point I felt that coming out of the pits in the lead was a possibility. The only question mark was the pit-stop but the guys were really quick, so it was fine”.This is your first win after the crash you had in 2010, how does it feel?“As you say, it’s my first success after that huge crash with Superleague, mainly because after that stop I had some budget issues that didn’t allow me to plan a proper season of racing. So yes, being in Auto GP and getting a win is a great feeling, it means I haven’t lost it! I want to say thanks to the Manor MP guys for giving me such a chance”.Sergey SirotkinAs we asked Chris, how difficult it was racing against a rival you couldn’t see?“It wasn’t easy at all. When I pitted I had a 4”8 gap on Chris, and frankly I thought that it would have been enough to keep the lead after the pit-stop. So, I must admit that when he came out of the pit lane in front of me, I was a bit surprised”.In the last you managed to close the gap on Van der Drift, did you think that overtaking him was a possibility?“At first yes because I was a bit quicker, anyway Van der Drift was quick too so even if I managed to close the gap, I wasn’t close enough to try a safe move. Anyway second place isn’t bad at all”.Yesterday you were starting from pole but then missed the start, today you made up for that with a great first lap…“Yes, yesterday I couldn’t see the 5” board from the pole position, so when the red lights went on I wasn’t ready, I realized that the race had started when the others went past me. Today was a much different story, my start was good, and then I saw a gap on the outside of my team mate and went for it. It was a good move”.Giacomo RicciYou managed a really good start, but the first laps weren’t easy anyway…“I got off really well, and then I chose a line very close to the wall to go past de Jong and Sirotkin. Unluckily, Spavone in front of me went on the brakes a little early for Turn 1, and I got stuck behind him losing the positions again. Then I had to fight my way up a bit and basically I was dueling for the whole race, but it was good fun”.Give us your view of what happened at the last chicane.“We were fighting all race long with Quaife-Hobbs and Varhaug, it was hard but fair, but mistakes can happen. Quaife-Hobbs and Varhaug were in front of me, and both went for a late braking. Adrian’s move was a good overtake in the end, but he was wide at the exit and so I could go past him. I have nothing against Varhaug cutting the chicane, they would have crashed if he didn’t, but then he should have let us both of us by, that was the right thing to do”.

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