It took only seconds for the GP2 Asia meeting at Yas Marina to put Racing Engineering on the back foot.
Without even crossing the start line from fourth on the grid Dani Clos was out the first race of the weekend. He had stalled, and though most of the 22 cars starting behind him safely made it past the stranded Spaniard Luis Razia hit the right hand side of Clos's car, the force of impact enough to push Clos forward one grid row and spear Razia – on his side – in the barrier at the side.
Happily, despite the destructive nature of the crash, there were no injuries – either to Clos, Razia or Pal Varhaug who was also involved. It did, however, bring out the red flag and leave Clos and the facing a tough fight to take anything from this weekend by scoring points in tomorrow's race.
“It’s a disappointment,” Clos conceded, “as we obviously wanted to gain information on the car and the new tyres. Our main target is to be ready for the Main Series and therefore we need to collect as much information as we can. So tomorrow will be a test run for me as little more is possible from my starting position.”
The second Racing Engineering car – with GP2 debutant Nathanael Berthon – resumed the race in eighth place, but inexperience and small errors – Berthon explaining how a brief off dirtied his tyres – saw him slip down the field to 13th just after the main bulk of the mandatory pitstops.
But on lap 24 – nine laps from the end of a race limited by time, rather than distance – Berthon was forced to retire with what the team would confirm was an alternator failure that shut the engine down.
“It’s a pity as I was the best rookie and I might have even scored a point in my first race ever in GP2,” he said. “This would have been a great performance as I am happy to fight against these experienced drivers in GP2. So, it’s a disappointment for my team and me as we were on for a good result.”
Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon, team president summed up the feeling on the team declaring himself “very disappointed” preparing to use the second race – with both cars starting down the grid by virtue of the double DNF – to learn more about the new generation GP2 car in its first racing weekend.