The Hilmer Motorsport team remain pointless after a Monaco weekend to forget in the GP2 Series. German Daniel Abt had managed to qualify in the top ten before he was pushed into the unforgiving barriers by the EQ8 Caterham Racing machine of Alexander Rossi early in the Feature race before being unable to make much progress from 23rd on the grid for the Sprint Race.
Facu Regalia’s Feature race ended on the opening lap when he stalled his car coming out of the Nouvelle chicane after breaking too hard coming out of the tunnel. Starting right from the back of the grid in the Sprint race he ran some quick lap times but was unable to overtake anyone, and finished at the back end of the battle for fourth position but way down in 21st place!
Team Principal Franz Hilmer was not happy with the luck the team has endured so far in 2014, and was annoyed with the move that Rossi attempted on Abt at the hairpin. He was happy about the speed both drivers showed during the weekend, and praised Regalia for his speed in the Sprint race when the Argentine driver was amongst the fastest of everyone.
“The round in Monte Carlo was and always will be a very special event,” said Hilmer. “As we have seen, you are not allowed to make a mistake, otherwise you will end up in the barriers and the race is over. Unfortunately, Daniel had to learn this the hard way when Alexander Rossi tried to overtake him where it is absolutely impossible to overtake.
“The Loews hairpin curve is the tightest corner on the race calendar and every driver knows that due to the limited steering wheel angle of a GP2 car you cannot approach this curve from the inside line. Apparently Alexander Rossi didn’t know this unfortunately. It’s enough to drive one to despair to see that Daniel was yet again involved in a collision that was absolutely not his fault.
“Rossi destroyed Daniel’s and the team’s whole weekend after not even ten minutes. At this time, Daniel was in a promising ninth position and he was fighting with the drivers straight in front of him, what could have been a possible Pole Position on Saturday in regards to the inversed grid for the Top 8 cars of the feature race. But Daniel’s race ended on the eleventh lap and he had to start from 23rd position into the sprint race. From the back of the grid he had small chances to score points.
“Facu Regalia had to learn the hard way again after his driving mistake on Friday and had to start from the back on Saturday also. In the race he showed a very good pace and was the quickest driver on track. Facu has set constant quick lap times and it is a shame that he had to start from the end of the field. It would have been possible for him to score his first points on this weekend.
“We would like to press the reset button now and to start from at the next race at the Red Bull Ring. The first three race weekends didn’t go as we expected after the successful pre-season test days. Everybody in the team will keep on working hard and we are sure that a little bit of luck will come back to us and that we will have a good result soon.”
For Abt, a promising qualifying went to waste, and he was prepared to wait for the pit stops to make his move as he believed he was faster than the drivers ahead of him. Unfortunately he wasn’t to make it that far, meaning the remainder of his weekend was consigned to being towards the rear of the field.
“The weekend started off quite promising with the seventh position in qualifying even if I was not very happy about it because there was more potential in the car and in myself,” said Abt. “In the first race I had a good start but I was stuck in traffic. I wanted to wait until the pit stops in order to make up some places with the help of our strategy. But unfortunately, another driver couldn’t wait and took me out of the race.
“My weekend ended again because of the fault of a competitor. We didn’t have a good start into the season so far but we have everything we need to be in the front of the field. Motor racing sometimes is like that but we will not lose the faith and we will fight back at the Red Bull Ring!”
Regalia struggled for pace during qualifying and could only start from 20th, but for the third Feature race in a row he failed to complete the opening lap. Having braked too hard for the chicane coming out of the tunnel, his car stalled on him, leaving him stranded on track. He showed speed during the Saturday Sprint race but could not advance past 21st.
“In general, it was again a really difficult weekend for me and I had a problem on Friday so I couldn’t complete a lap in the race,” said Regalia. “But on Saturday, starting from last position, we showed our potential by being the fastest car on track most of the time. So I am quite happy about that.
“We have to keep this level and hopefully we won’t have any problems again and then we are able to fight for top positions. I hope that the penny has dropped and that we can score points in Austria.”