While several of its rivals have announced new faces in the past week, Ocean Racing Technology has confirmed that it will field an unchanged line-up for round four of the GP2 Asia Series as it faces the challenge of tackling an unfamiliar venue in an unusual atmosphere.
The GP2 caravan decamps to Qatar's Losail circuit for its first ever night races, the sixth and seventh of the 2008-09 Asian campaign, and ORT principal Tiago Monteiro admits that he is eager to get back on track after a series of hitches continued to deny his team the chance to show the potential he believes it possesses.
Having only joined the GP2 family at round two of the winter series, after taking over the spot previously held by BCN, ORT suffered a truncated weekend in Dubai, where the second race was lost to flooding, and a miserable weekend in Bahrain, with a best of 13th to show for its efforts. Now, as the field heads to a circuit none have run on before, Monteiro is hoping that a degree of continuity will help break the spell.
"Qatar will be a double challenge," he points out, "It will be the first time that the GP2 Series will run at night, and I am sure it will be spectacular. It is an honour for Ocean Racing Technology to be able to share in this great first. Like most off the teams, we don't know the track and the few people who have already visited there came back with a very positive impression.
"Our project is getting stronger and stronger, and we can almost guarantee that Fabrizio Crestani will contest the entire GP2 Asia series with us, while Yelmer Buurman will also stay with us. We are very motivated because, after two weekends where we could really only fight in one race, we are keen to see the drivers clock up more kilometres and show the team's real potential. Who knows, maybe we can even secure some points."
Monteiro is encouraged by the pace Buurman has been able to show in recent outings, and the Dutchman is confident that the coming weekend will be see further improvement.
"It will be different for us for several reasons," he notes, "Running at night raises several question marks. You need to have some good reflexes, which could complicate our race, but it will be new for everybody and I'm not too concerned about it. I don't know the track, but I'm confident that, after free practice, we will be okay and ready for qualifying and the race."