Qi Meritus Mahara's hopes of turning around its recent run of misfortune in the GP2 Asia Series when it returned to home soil at Sepang proved to be misguided, as both Luca Filippi and Hiroki Yoshimoto left empty-handed.

After suffering a five-place grid penalty in qualifying, the pair had to start the first race from tenth and 19th respectively, leaving them at the mercy of the pack when the rain that had been threatening all day caught drivers out on their first lap. Although the race was red-flagged both Filippi and Yoshimoto were ensnared in the heart of the chaos and unable to rejoin at the restart.

"I had a reasonable start, but we had more than our fair share of bad luck," Filippi sighed, as he kissed his title aspirations goodbye, "I was not able to avoid the accident, which is a real shame because the car was feeling great and the team had done such a good job setting it up. I am really sorry for the guys in the team that we lost an opportunity to score points."

"I had a super start too, and pushed strongly in the first lap to be in front of Vitaly Petrov after overtaking several other cars," Yoshimoto added, "Then the sky got darker and it started to get wet on the track. As I arrived at where the accident had happened, I was hit from behind and there was nothing I could do. The car just flew after I was hit, but I managed to get back to the pits despite the damage and rear tyre puncture. The team fixed the damaged suspension, but the car was still too badly damaged to continue."

Although the 22-lap sprint race took place in dry conditions on Sunday, things didn't get much better for the Meritus duo, who shared row eleven following their early exits on Saturday. Although Yoshimoto at least saw the chequered flag in eleventh spot, Filippi had to bring his car back to the pits five laps from the end with brake failure.

"I had a good first lap and already made ten places," the Italian commented, "I had a good rhythm for the first part of the race, but then the brake temperature went very hot. As I was attacking a lot and had passed a lot of the other drivers, it became critical. I was tenth in the classification after a start practically from the back of the grid, and there were still many laps to go, but I was losing a lot of time fighting with the other drivers. Finally, as I was coming up to Valsecchi, the brake temperature went hotter and I decided to play it wise and go back to the pit. It's a shame as we had a car with good podium potential."

"Of course, I am disappointed as I had been looking forward to our home race," team founder Peter Thompson concluded, "We came to Malaysia with a lot of hopes, and the team had done a fantastic job to prepare for the race. Our cars should have finished in the points, but we lost the advantage when the drivers were sanctioned for ignoring yellow flags on Friday. Now we are looking forward to showing our true potential in Bahrain in two weeks time."

 

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