Kamui Kobayashi expects to start Saturday's GP2 Series feature race in Valencia despite a heavy shunt in qualifying restricting to a place on the back row of the grid.
The Japanese driver hadn't exactly set the world alight in free practice, taking 20th spot as he and the rest of the field learned their way around the quick harbourside circuit, but curtailed his qualifying effort within minutes of the green light appearing in pit-lane.
Track conditions were difficult in the afternoon, with air and track temperatures of 30° and 45° subjecting both tyres and cars to a tough test. Right at the start of qualifying, Kobayashi paid the penalty for overstepping the mark at one of the course's many corners, clattering the barriers and damaging his car beyond repair. His time, however, was still good enough to keep ahead of rookie Michael Herck, but the DAMS team knows that it will be tough to salvage much from the feature event.
"We've got mixed feelings this evening," team manager Eric Boullier admitted, "We showed that we've got quick cars and we can really go for it in the race with Jérôme [d'Ambrosio], who had a good qualifying session. On the other hand, Kamui's accident is going to give the mechanics a lot of work. He hasn't any hope of scoring points tomorrow, barring exceptional circumstances, so it's frustrating, but we'll do our best for both our drivers tomorrow, and hope that we'll have cause for celebration at the end of the race.”
Kobayashi emerged unhurt from the accident and was quick to hold his hands up and accept the blame.
“What can I say?" he sighed, "It was completely my fault. I lost control of the car on the exit from a corner and hit the guardrail twice. It's pretty badly damaged and the team will have a lot of work to repair it. I'd like to thank them in advance for their efforts...."