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Drivers prepare for twisty, hot Hungarian trial

26 July 2012

Hockenheim feature race winner Johnny Cecotto Jr. hasn't had much time to bask in the success of his feature race win last weekend at German, but the Barwa Addax driver is hoping instead that the momentum will carry over to the Hungaroring.

"We had only a few days to prepare the race in Hungary as last weekend we had that fantastic weekend in Hockenheim," he said. "I'm ready and the team is too, this is a track where Addax has always been quick especially when the temperatures are hot and I'm sure this will be the case again this time."

Rio Haryanto is hoping that his success in last year's GP3 round at Hungary will lead on to similar good fortunes in this weekend's GP2 races.

'I'm really looking forward to racing here again," said the Carlin driver, who won the GP3 sprint race here in 2011 before graduating to GP2 this season. "Last time I was here in the GP3 Series it was a brilliant weekend for me. I enjoy the circuit so hopefully I can have another strong race in Hungary."

His team mate Max Chilton was also feeling upbeat heading to the Hungaroring, although his fortunes here in GP2 last season weren't as promising - he finished well out of the point sin the feature race and retired in the Sunday sprint.

"I'm feeling confident for this weekend because I know we have a good race set-up," he said. However, the 21-year-old British driver is coming off a less than wonderful time at Hockenheim last weekend.

"Obviously with such an unlucky weekend in Germany we didn't really get the chance to test it out," he said. "But that's racing - you have highs and lows."

By contrast, Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer had a very successful time of it last weekend, with a second place in the feature race being followed by fourth place in the Sunday sprint.

"The weekend at the Hockenheimring was very positive and we could collect a lot of points, which is very important," said the Swiss driver. "We have shown that we are very strong and consistent during races. I am therefore very confident regarding the upcoming event in Budapest and hope to score many points there as well.

"I am very much looking forward to Budapest!" he added. "I have always been fast on this track, which is very demanding as you never have a break given its layout. I also think that the Hungaroring will be very hard on tyres. Additionally it's a track where overtaking is really difficult and the only spot to do so is on the straight."

Pirelli are opting to provide all the GP2 teams with the medium and supersoft compounds for Hungary. With its bumpy, dusty, tight and twisty layout leading to high tyre degradation during races, the Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit on the 2012 calendar, making it resemble the Monaco street circuit more than anything else.

"Hungaroring is very difficult track, it is very bumpy," agreed Barwa Addax driver Josef Kràl. "It is quite narrow and short so it will be all about the qualifying because then it is very difficult to overtake. I won there a race when I was in Formula Master so I hope this experience will help me."

"Hungary could become one of the most strategic races in GP2 so far this season," mused Pirelli's racing manager, Mario Isola. "While the supersoft provides a notable degree of extra performance, we are expecting most teams to base their race strategies on the medium, which benefits from a lot more durability.

"If the teams use just one compound for the race, they may be able to get away with just changing the minimum of two tyres in the pits – rather than all four tyres, which would need to be changed if switching to a different compound," he added. "These are all factors that need to be carefully evaluated and considered."

There are no further driver changes expected in the line-up, other than Daniël de Jong returning to the Rapax car after missing last week's Hockenheim round while competing in the AutoGP World Series in Brazil. That means Tom Dillmann will once again be on the sidelines.

The weather for Friday's practice and qualifying sessions looks reasonably set, with the forecast pointing toward partly cloudy conditions and highs around 31C (88F). However, an increasing chance of thunderstorms during Saturday could see the afternoon feature race affected by rain; a similar outlook for Sunday might mean a dry GP2 sprint race will be followed by a rain-affected F1 Grand Prix.

'The weather looks interesting this weekend with the heat and thunderstorms predicted," agreed Carlin driver Max Chilton. "But I'm hoping for a dry and consistent track and I want to pick up two good finishes here which I know we are more than capable of."

The Friday morning practice session is scheduled for 10.55am after F1 Free Practice 1, and the qualifying session for 3pm after FP2. The 39-lap feature race 1 on Saturday afternoon is scheduled to get underway at 2.40pm after Grand Prix qualifying, and the Sunday morning 28-lap sprint race 2 at 9.35am.

All sessions are scheduled to be shown live on Sky Sports F1.


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