Nelson Piquet Jr heads to the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona for rounds three and four of the new GP2 Series hoping that, after a difficult opening round at Imola, the technical problems he suffered have been overcome.

Just about the entire 24-car field struggled with brake and clutch problems at the opening two rounds that supported the San Marino Grand Prix, meaning that Piquet, after some very encouraging results in pre-season testing, was left to take a single point from race two. Electrical problems affected him from the start of the weekend, putting him out of free practice after just five laps, and, combined with extreme brake degradation, ended his first race two laps before the end.

Barcelona is a circuit Piquet Jr knows well, having driven it on numerous occasions in the Williams F1 car and during a two-day pre-season GP2 test. The latter outing helped show just how competitive the new series should prove to be, with the top 13 drivers separated by less than a second on day two. With some of the technical problems solved, and at a circuit where the drivers will be able to demonstrate just how quick the GP2 car is, Piquet reckons the Barcelona weekend could be an exciting one, and he admits that, despite the disappointment of Imola, he sees no reason why he cannot take the Hitech Piquet car back to the front of the field.

"It's strange but, even though the results in Imola were terrible, I feel even more confident now than before," the Brazilian commented, "The standard of driving in this series is high, but I got the chance to analyse all the data after the last weekend and, for 90 per cent of the time in both races, I was the quickest driver on the circuit.

"I think I have a great chance to win in Barcelona if we have no technical problems - it should be easy to get in the top three at least. I know the circuit well as I have tested there in the Williams F1 car and also just before the start of the season in the GP2 car - and it's one of my favourite tracks. I like it mainly because it is quick, and I love fast circuits, they really suit me. I am sure things are going to work out well for us."

Since Imola, the series organisers have confirmed that the brake supplier will change for the rest of the season, while improvements have been made to the cooling system, which they are confident will solve some of the problems that have lingered from early testing with the Dallara-built, Renault-powered car.


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