Oliver Rowland feeling good after strong GP2 practice debut

Formula Renault 3.5 championship leader Oliver Rowland says he is quietly confident he can challenge for pole position in his debut GP2 qualifying at Silverstone.

Speaking to The Checkered Flag Rowland, who is competing with MP Motorsport, says that he is confident in the car following his debut outing in practice this morning.

I’ve never driven this car with these tyres or anything so it was new and it was weird,” said Rowland. “But after 10 laps I got into a rhythm and on my final run I did my best lap with 18 lap old tyres, which was only a second off first.

The car feels good so i’m quietly quite confident I can be in the fight for pole.

I’m not saying i’m going to be on pole but I think if I do my job the car’s capable of doing what it wants.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver also said that the Pirelli tyres used in GP2 aren’t as bad as some other drivers have made them out to be. Rowland however believes that may change in race trim with 90 kilograms of fuel on-board.

There’s a bit less grip at high speed and a bit more power,” said Rowland. “At slow speed maybe there’s slightly more grip. The tyres aren’t that bad to be honest.

Obviously you can feel like you’ve lost a lot of grip but if I can be one second off on my 18th lap then I don’t think they’re that much worse than the michelin’s to be honest.

The tyre feels a bit more floaty when it gets old but it’s not like off a cliff. I think the problem may come when we put 90 kilos of fuel in, that might make it a bit worse.

When asked about what this GP2 outing means for his future Rowland was quick to reiterate his commitment to winning the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.

The priority is to go and win World Series, that’s number one,” said Rowland.

There are talks already that we could come and do some races at the end of the year but this was last minute, I know the team very well, I think I owe them one.