Malaysian opening round
27 March 2012
See gallery for more photos - Kind permission of GP2 Series
Eight months after his last race (and win) at Donington, Jon was back in a car last week-end on the Sepang International Circuit of Malaysia, for the opening round of the 2012 GP2 Series season.
In the blue and black Ocean Racing Technology racing car - familiarisation being just a couple of weeks before - Jon qualified P20, after he and his team chose the risky strategy of using only one set of new tyres, while their competitors used two. With proven overtaking skills they were confident he could accumulate points and possibly reach 8th position, which would give him the pole position in the second race of the week-end.
Unfortunately this was not to be the case. Jon had to retire after only one lap, after a competitor turned across his front wheel, causing the suspension damage.
“We had a good start and we thought we would be able to finish eighth, despite starting very far back on the grid.", explained a very disappointed Jon. "But a competitor ruined my first race and I regret not getting a
chance to go further."
As a result, Jon had to start the second race from the back of the grid. His approach was therefore to "learn as much as possible and make some overtakes". And so did he! 26th on the grid when the race started, Jon
passed 4 cars on the first lap. After 3 laps, two other cars had been overtaken and Jon finally crossed the finishing line in 17th position.
"For the second race, we learned a lot and we know exactly what to do for the coming meetings. We are going to focus our work on the next races in Bahrain and, with a few modifications to our strategy, I am sure that we will be able to do better.”
Tiago Monteiro, head of ORT, is optimistic for the coming races: “We have worked a lot, and this weekend was tough. We have drawn a few important conclusions that will help us for what comes next. This year, the championship is at a very high level. All the drivers have a very similar rhythm; the gaps are so small that a little detail can make the difference. Both our drivers did a good job, which unfortunately is not reflected in their results, but they are motivated for the next meeting.”
The two next GP2 Series rounds will be held on the Sakhir International Circuit of Bahrain (20-22 April & 26-28 April).