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Double podium sees Coletti start 2013 on top
27 March 2013
A double podium for Stefano Coletti and two finishes in the points for his team mate Simon Trummer means that Rapax heads the team championship after the opening weekend of the 2013 GP2 Series at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
Coletti looked on course to win the opening feature race after claiming pole position in qualifying on Friday, but in the end had to settle for third place when his tyres faded in the closing laps.
“After performing so good in qualifying we hoped to stay on the front at the end of the race too," he said. "I managed to hold first place for most part of the race, but I knew that [Fabio] Leimer had a slight advantage in terms of tyre wear.
"I tried to hold onto the lead as long as possible but it was meaningless to take too big risks," he continued. "In the last five laps the tyre performance dropped quite a lot and I had to settle for third."
That did at least give him a slight boost for the Sunday sprint race, as the reverse grid system put him on sixth place on the grid which he immediately took advantage of sweeping down the outside line into turn 1 to take second place, which enabled him to pull off a pass on pole man Stéphane Richelmi for the lead shortly afterwards.
"The engine dropped revs in the right way and I was able to take-off without the slightest wheelspin," Coletti said of his perfect start. "I saw some space on the left side of the track so at the first braking zone I was already second.
"When we hit the throttle again I saw I had a chance in turn 2 and I took the lead by braking late and passing on the inside line," he continued. "Once in the lead, I managed the race well and did not suffer from the tyre wear that slowed us down yesterday."
Coletti went on to claim the chequered flag, which together with his third place on Saturday means that he leads the drivers standings by 11 points from Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer.
"This win is a well-deserved reward for the work done by the whole team since the autumn," said the 23-year-old from Monaco. "It's great to see these efforts repaid and I'm looking forward to keep having the same satisfactions all-day."
Coletti's team mate Simon Trummer had qualified in ninth position on Friday and held station in the feature race, earning him two points despite being hit with a drive-thru penalty mid-race for not heeding waved yellow flags.
"I set a good pace and I stayed in the points zone until I hit the pit-stops," he said. "Unfortunately I couldn't see a yellow flag at the trackside and I got penalized with a drive-through. At that point I tried to manage my tyres well and as I could keep a fast pace, I was able to fight back to the points again."
Trummer added another four points on Sunday when he was able to avoid getting caught up some early trouble between his rivals on lap 1 to bring the Rapax home in sixth place.
"I started well, but I lost some positions due to the crash triggered by [James] Calado," he said. "I managed to avoid the melee and when I was back on my pace I saw I was faster than the car of [Johnny] Cecotto who was in front.
"I closed the gap on him but any pass attempt would have been really risky," he added. "I wanted to end this weekend on an high note so I decided to manage my tyres and avoid any possible concern."
Trummer is now in 11th place in the drivers standings, and between him and Coletti the drivers handed Rapax sufficient points to lead the team championship by seven points over Racing Engineering after round 1 of the 2013 season.
The next GP2 race weekend will be at Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain on April 19-21.
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