JOHNNY CECOTTO WINS HIS FIRST RACE IN MONACO BRILLIANTLY.
Johnny Cecotto won driving for Barwa Addax Team in the first of the GP2 races this weekend at the best place possible, the legendary circuit of Monte Carlo, where all the greatest drivers in the history of motor racing have left their mark. The Spanish team hope that this will be a turning point for them this season, as they try to get back into the thick of things.
Johnny Cecotto has dominated this weekend, having been the quickest in free practice. He also took pole position on his last lap which was almost perfect and led the first race from start to finish. The only blot was when he was forced to retire from the second race. In the first race, Johnny made a great start which meant that he was able to hold on to his first position without too many problems. For the first few laps he was holding off his rivals and looking after his tyres at the same time, but by the 10th lap Cecotto had a lead of 2.4 seconds over his nearest rival Ericsson who was the only one able to keep up with his race rhythm. Nothing much changed over the next 10 laps or so because all drivers were looking after their tyres, but in lap 21 Marcus made his pit stop in an effort to try to get ahead of Johnny. However, this time around, Barwa Addax Team chose the perfect strategy and their driver came in for his change on the following lap and the team made a perfect pit stop which left the Venezuelan even further ahead of his Swedish rival and from there he was able to bring the car home in first position. Nevertheless, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Cecotto even though he had set the fastest race lap time on lap 30. Ericsson didn’t give up at any time. The time that Cecotto gained on a clean lap, he lost on the next due to yellow flags or with lapped cars. He had to wait for the track to be clear to build again on his lead, making sure that his tyres were not too worn. The laps went by and Cecotto showed maturity combined with great skill to bring the car to the finish line for a thoroughly deserved victory. In the second race he was caught up in a first lap incident which left 10 cars out of the race.
Josef Kral, has been the other side of the coin this weekend. After a tenth position in free practice, he finished a creditable eighth in qualifications. He made a good start but at the first corner he was hit from behind by another driver who pushed him into the car just in front of him, causing a collision which in turn damaged his steering and meant Josef had no option but to retire from the race. It was all very unfortunate for Král because he was looking to fight it out in a points scoring position, guaranteeing him a good start position on the grid for the second race the following day. The difference was between picking up points in both races and finding yourself at the back of the grid for the second race with no options whatsoever. Despite this Josef was able to avoid a massive accident on the first lap of the second race and finished in tenth position, just a few seconds behind those who finished in the points.
Johnny Cecotto, official Barwa Addax Team driver:” An amazing weekend! We dominated all free practice, qualifying and race 1. I couldn't have dreamt better. This is the most difficult track in the world and only the best drivers win races here and to be one of them is just an amazing feeling. In Qualifying, Ericsson had sent an amazing time and I thought it was going to be really difficult but on the last lap I had after the red flag I thought I'm going to try and I managed an amazing lap which gave me pole position. Almost crashing 3 times into the wall but it was the perfect lap I couldn't have done any better In race 1, I knew that the most important thing was to be first in the first corner and after that a really difficult races started because I had Markus very close all the time. I tried to open the gap several times but each time for yellow flags or lapped cars Markus managed to get really close again. When he came in for the pit stop the radio wasn't working properly but I didn't see him in the mirrors anymore and saw on a big screen that he was in the pits so I pushed really hard and at the end of the lap the call came to come in and when I came out of the pits in front I just had to administrate to the chequered flag In race 2, not much to say I had quite a good start and was 6th in the first corner but Colletti hit me going into the corner and punctured my tyre and when I reached casino where I already started to slow down the tyre came off the rim and I lost control of the car which caused a huge accident all because of the puncture”.
Josef Král, official Barwa Addax Team driver:” Well it was another very tough weekend for me. Even that we had a very good pace we ended up with no points again. In free session when I was in my quickest lap I unfortunately spun just before Rascasse so I didn't finish lap which would have had put me probably to P1. Anyway we were confident and well prepared for qualifying. In quali I hope that I can win my group but the radio came out from the holder and was moving around which made it very difficult for me to turn to the corners because I didn't have enough space for my hand. So in the end it was only 8th place on the grid. Unfortunately the start to first race didn't go well and when Berthon crashed me from the rear in first corner I hilted Gutierez and bend my front steering arm. So the race was over. Starting last wasn't giving us big chances but after eventful race I manage to move up 16 places and finished on P10”.
The next event in this season’s GP2 series returns to Spain at the home of Barwa Addax Team, in Valencia, where two races will take place at the street circuit between the 22nd – 24th of June.