Despite disappointing overall results in the weekend's season-opening GP2 round in Barcelona, series newcomer Ocean Racing Technology served notice that it definitely has the potential to score points - and possible victories - with both ?lvaro Parente and Karun Chandhok.

The team came closest to opening its account in Saturday's feature race, where Parente made an excellent start from 14th on the grid and was soon knocking on the door of a point-scoring finish in ninth position. Maintaining a consistent pace, the Portuguese driver claimed another two positions and was involved in a fight for fifth with just eight laps to go.

However, when Edoardo Mortara passed Lucas di Grassi, Parente tried to benefit from the manoeuvre, but instead hit the back of the Racing Engineering car, knocking them both out of the race.

"It was an unfortunate race incident," the ORT man sighed, "We were fighting each other but, at the same time, I had to defend my positions from several drivers who were threatening me. When Mortara overtook di Grassi, he broke earlier than usually entering turn four and I lost the rear when I hit the brakes.

"It is really a shame because we had fixed all the problems we suffered in qualifying and the car was much more competitive. At least we can keep a positive aspect in that we know we have what it takes to secure some good points."

Points would have been a major achievement on Sunday, as Parente's race one DNF meant that he was starting from 19th on the sprint race grid. Another blinding start saw him into 13th by the third lap, and he finished right on the heels of the top ten.

"It was an intense race and it would have been hard to do better," the Portuguese admitted, "After our misfortune [on Saturday], we knew it would be complicated to secure some points today because the race is short and we started the race well down the order. However, we gathered some valuable data which will be useful for Monaco and we know that we can improve many details on the car."

For new team-mate Chandhok, however, there will not be as many fond memories of the season-opener. After qualifying down in 13th place, the Indian racer was constantly fighting to get into the top ten but, with twelve laps to go in the feature, he left the track after hard contact with a kerb.

"I was trying to gain a position when I lost the rear," Chandhok explained, "Until then, my race had been difficult because I was having a hard time getting past several drivers who where slower than me."

The retirement left the Indian down on row eleven for Sunday's sprint, but he managed only five laps before a mechanical problem forced him back into the pits.

"There's not much to say," he noted, "I came back into the pits at the end of lap five because of an engine gremlin, and my race was pretty much over. It is a bit frustrating to start the championship this way, but it should be better in Monaco."

Team owners Tiago Monteiro and Jose Guedes, however, preferred to look on the positive side of the Spanish weekend, noting that both drivers had had the pace necessary to secure points and were definitely on the right track to achieving that goal.

"Both our drivers' performances were positive," Monteiro insisted, "On Saturday, both Karun and ?lvaro made a mistake that prevented them taking the chequered flag but, on Sunday, ?lvaro drove a great faultless race and was close to the points. Obviously, the race was always going to be tough because we started from the back and had to cope with slower cars, but that's the beauty of this sport. We are gathering some precious data that will allow us to continue our learning process and improve ourselves, and we are confident we can secure some points in Monaco."



Loading Comments...