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Mansell scores on USR debut
21 April 2009
Greg Mansell celebrated his World Series by Renault debut by sneaking into the points for USR at the Circuit de Catalunya, the British driver finishing tenth in the rain interrupted second race.
Starting 15th for both outings, the British driver made a good start in the first race to run as high as 11th, but a mistake on lap 19 when trying to pass Pasquale di Sabatino for a position inside the top ten dropped him back to an eventual 13th place.
He was on the cusp of the points in the second race too, but was one of several drivers to be caught out by a mid-race rain shower than prompted much of the field to re-pit for treaded tyres.
Leaving him in 13th position, a move on Mihai Marinescu and two retirements ahead would eventually haul Mansell up to tenth position at the chequered flag, a result he was encouraged with.
“Both Miguel [Molina] and I were frustrated as we had better cars and drove a lot better than where we finished in both races. I made a good start, moving up to eleventh. Then another wrong call and I came in for my pit-stop before the rain to change the rears. We got lucky when it really started raining as we were coming to the pit entrance, so I managed to dive in.
“There was a problem with the front wets that meant I didn't have any front end grip or braking ability what so ever. So it was just a case of trying to survive and stay out there, but the pace in the car was good despite the problems. This is my first year and there are some new guys in the team and we're all learning.
“The good thing from this weekend is we've gelled as a team and, good or bad, we're working together to fix it. I'm looking forward to the races at Spa in two weeks. It will be nice to go to a track that I know after I drove there in British F3 two years ago."
Having seen Molina's pole position disallowed due to a tyre infringement during qualifying, the Spaniard would go on to show impressive pace in race one to finish ninth, only for a tardy pit-stop to leave him almost a lap down in the second race having run as high as sixth.
For team manager Colin Morgan, a ninth and tenth place result fell well short of their initial targets.
"Very, very, very disappointing is the only way I can sum it up; we have a lot of work to do between now and Spa. The pitstops were rubbish apart from Greg's first scheduled stop and we have to improve.
“Both drivers did an excellent job; it's just a shame that circumstances didn't allow them to get more out of this weekend. We've had two of the quickest cars here all weekend and it's very disappointing that the results don't reflect this fact. It's onwards and upwards and Spa is going to be our race!”
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