Johnny Cecotto Jr. from Venezuela won his second race of the GP2 season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. We have his comments after the great win here in Racing5 Rock!
Q: Johnny another win this season, and what a win this was! How was it from the car?
Johnny Cecotto: First of all, it’s fantastic to win again. We scored some good points. We had a fantastic pace since the beginning with the pole on Friday. We were very unlucky yesterday because we had a spark plug issue so the engine was running between 7 and 8 cylinder. That cost us the podium for sure. But we had a good starting position today: from third, we had a mega start, leading into the first corner which was very important. And then started a very long and very hard race. I think it was one of the most difficult GP2 sprint race to win because with this track where the tyre degradation is so low, where you have long straights were overtaking is quite easy. You could stay in the slipstream for a long time. People were catching me and not only they were catching, but it was always a new guy. First Rossi pushed hard at the beginning and I had to as well. Then, it was Marciello in the middle part of the race and I had to push to keep him behind. Then he finished his tyres. And then, when I thought I could relax a bit, my engineer told me that Coletti was catching us almost a second a lap, I could not believe that I had to push again… Stefano came quite close and 3 or 4 laps to the end, it was quite hard. In the last two laps I saw that he was also at the end of his tyres. So, I could control the last two laps, but it was a very, very long race inside of the car (Laughs).
Q: We heard how overjoyed you were at the chequered flag over the radio…
Johnny: Yeah, it was a fantastic race. The pace was so good overall this weekend. The engineers and mechanics did such a good job. We were a bit unlucky with race 1, but at least we could get this win today and good points, and we are consistently in good points for the championship. I think we caught some good points on Jolyon and we stayed close to Nasr. It’s looking good. We have to keep up the good work.
Q: We’re going to Silverstone in two weeks. What will be your goal?
Johnny: I love Silverstone. It’s quite a similar layout of this track because it also has quite a lot of quick corners. So, I think we will have a good car. We have ten days of very hard work to get prepared and then we just have to try and do the best we can again. I hope to be in the top 3 again from the start of the weekend.
GP3 Series runner-up Facundo Regalia tested a GP2 Series racecar today at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The argentinian wasn’t able to test in the first of the two sessions of the day due to strategical issues, but was able to get in the car in the second session. He finished with the tenth fastest time, clocking 1:50.525, seven tenths of a second slower than the 1:49.811 that scored italian Raffaele Marciello, the fastest man of the day in Abu Dhabi.
” The only reasons that we only practiced on the afternoon was that we were the only ones who only had two sets of tires, the fact is that spending one in the morning would greatly complicate the work later. The team decided to focus all in the two hours of the afternoon session . I went out with a new set of tires, with it I adapted very quickly to the car , which incidentally had very good balance , further improving every lap and changing my driving style because the GP2 car is very different to GP3 . Once I got confident, just before putting the second set of tires , we were already very close to the top with used tires. The team thought we could lose one second my time but when I went to track my teammate Rossi had a flat tire is why took red flag. When the session resumed thought there were more time available. But no. In my first round was a tenth off pole in the third sector but I found a Trident car and lost half a second. In the second round , step- less than a tenth in the first sector , I put a record time in the second sector but again, in the third, more traffic. Above when I went through the finish line and took the checkered flag , I did not expect that because I thought there was more time . It was a shame because we could not finish the session as expected, which was among the top three ” , said Regalia.
Photo: GP2 Media
Alexander Rossi converted yesterday’s pole to today’s win, but not without a fight: the American had to scrap his way back past Jolyon Palmer to take his maiden Series victory, but most eyes were entertained on the fight behind them where Fabio Leimer lost a podium finish to Marcus Ericsson but had enough points in the bag to grab the 2013 GP2 Series title.
The action exploded right from the start, where front row starter and title contender Sam Bird stalled on the grid just as the lights went out: Rossi was slow off the line as Leimer and Palmer blew past the pair, and with the Swiss driver’s eyes on a bigger prize he gave way to the Briton at turn one, with the American making up for lost time by sliding inside Leimer at turn two before heading off after the race leader.
After a Safety Car condition, Rossi pitted from second on lap 18 for rears only, setting a blistering pace on his outlap and forcing Palmer to come in two laps later to cover him off, the team changing four tyres to be conservative, only to be heartbroken seconds later as Rossi screamed past into the lead: the Briton threw everything at his rival, but when the clock ran out it was Rossi who was greeted by the chequered flag first, with Palmer next across the line.
In the Championship standings, Leimer’s 191 points claims the 2013 title from Bird on 173 points, with Nasr on 154, Calado on 142 and Coletti on 135 points. With just one race remaining, Johnny Cecotto sits 16th in the championship, and Julián Leal in the 12th place.
Source: GP2 Media
Photo: Alexander Rossi leads Joylon Palmer at Abu Dhabi. Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic via GP2 Media
Fresh from a test with Scuderia Toro Rosso in November, Johnny Cecotto Jr. has secured a seat at Arden International’s GP2 team for next season. The 23-year-old driver from Venezuela had a roller coaster like season in GP2 2012, finishing ninth overall in the championship standings despite winning the feature race at Monaco after a dominant qualifying, and scoring a further victory in Germany. He raced for the Barwa Addax team in 2012.
Johnny Cecotto Jr tested for Scuderia Toro Rosso at the Young Drivers Test in Abu Dhabi in November. The Young Driver Test is where drivers from junior categories get a chance to show off their skills to potential future F1 employers. He set the sixth fastest time on day two of the test behind the wheel of Toro Rosso‘s STR7.
Johnny Cecotto Jr., new driver for Arden in GP2: “I’m delighted to have signed for Arden Motorsport. It’s one of the best teams in current Motorsport with a great history too. We had the possibility to get to know each other in a test and straight away there was a great feeling between the engineers, mechanics and me. I feel it was the right moment to sign so that we have plenty of time to prepare for the Championship well and I can also prepare mentally and physically for the 2013 GP2 Series. The target is definitely to win the Championship and I’m sure that both the team and I have the potential to do so.”
Julian Rouse, sporting director for Arden: “It is great to have Johnny joining our GP2 team for the 2013 season. He has shown great potential since he first joined the Series three years ago and he has developed strongly with the current car and the Pirelli tyres. We had an excellent test together in Jerez, finishing both sessions at the top of the time sheets, which assured us of his talent on track and technical ability to work with the team. I am more than confident that if we work hard together we can go one better in the Drivers’ Championship in 2013!”
Photo: Octavio Estrada / Prototipos
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