Davide Valsecchi scored a tremendous podium for Team AirAsia in the Anglo-Malaysian team's first GP2 Asia race.
Valsecchi held third place for almost the entire race – the period while the mandatory pitstops shuffled the order the only exception.
“Throughout the race the car felt really quick and I was happy with its balance and setup on track,” he said. “I feel that the team are doing a fantastic job – the pit stop today was faultless so thanks to everyone involved – we've really achieved an amazing result. Tomorrow we'll see what happens. It's tricky to overtake here but we hope to have every chance to fight for a race win.”
In the final stages of the race Valsecchi withstood pressure from Giedo van der Garde and Marcus Ericcson to hold on third place, which, with the top eight race positions reversed will give him sixth on the grid on a circuit where overtaking is a rarity.
But, if Valsecchi's third place was the good, then teammate Luis Razia was both the bad and the ugly for the team.
Razia was caught out by the stalled car of Dani Clos on the grid and slammed into first the car, then the wall. “Another car came up beside me and left my line of sight blind so I had nowhere to go except the back of the stalled car, and I then hit the wall,” he said.
Thankfully Razia (and the other two drivers involved in the crash) did not suffer any serious injury in the crash, so will start tomorrow's race from 25th, should the team be able to repair the damage to the car. Like many other teams who retired from the race Team AirAsia's Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett is aiming to use race tomorrow to simply gain more information on the new car, Razia facing an virtually impossible task to score any points from the weekend.
“I am very happy with the podium today,” said Riad Asmat, Team Principal. “Third is a great start for a new team, particularly one that has not been around for very long! Davide did an absolutely fantastic job and the whole team should be extremely proud. Unfortunately the start was not great for Luiz but this is racing, incidents happen, and tomorrow is a new day. Today is all about the team. We have shown commitment and passion.”