The second 2012 GP2 Series meeting, which took place this weekend in Bahrain, did not get off to the best of starts for Ocean Racing Technology, forced at the last minute to replace Jon Lancaster with Brendon Hartley, who joined forces with Nigel Melker to defend the Portuguese team's chances. This substitution proved positive, however, since the kiwi driver managed to secure the team's first points by finishing the first race in 10th place.
But the qualifying session did not go as the team had hoped: Nigel Melker and Brendon Hartley qualified in 23rd and 21st positions respectively, but a penalty cost the latter five positions on the starting grid, forcing to start from the back of the pack.
These results are justified by the fact that, unlike many of his competitors, Melker did not get a chance to prep for these races in the simulator. As for Hartley, he had not participated in any competitions for several months.
In the first race, all the hard work finally bore fruit. Hartley had an excellent race, finishing in 10th place, which enabled him to secure the Portuguese team's first point. Melker, who endured a few contacts with competitors, damaged his car's wing and was forced to abandon the race toward the end. In the second race, Hartley also had to DNF after contact with a rival. Melker did everything he could to pull himself up from the bottom of the grid and finished in 18th place.
Hartley was very happy to return to the GP2 Series: "The chance Ocean Racing Technology gave me to race in Bahrain was an excellent surprise, especially since I didn't know this track. I got to the circuit late and I did not get a chance to walk it. For qualifying, I was not satisfied with the car's set-up and I had no luck in my flying lap. Then I was hit with a penalty. The modifications we made for the first race were the right ones and the crew made an excellent pit stop. The race also went well, and that is reflected in the result. In the second race, a competitor bumped me and I found myself without a nose. I am disappointed of course, because I could have had a better result and brought more points to the team. Nevertheless, I want to thank Ocean for the excellent work done by the technical team."
Nigel Melker hopes to get a better result next weekend in the races that will be held again on this track: "It was not a good weekend, but I hope that what we learned today will enable us to be more competitive for the next two races on this same track."
Tiago Monteiro, who was in Bahrain to oversee the work of his team, pointed out the effort made by both drivers: "They both did a good job but with different fortunes. The last minute replacement was not easy, but we have to point out the work done by Brendon as well as the whole team. Nigel is continuing to learn the GP2 Series. We secured the team's first point, and that's important. I hope next weekend will go better," he concluded. The next GP2 Series races will be held next week again on Bahrain's Sakhir circuit.