The weekend was not a walk in the park for Ocean Racing Technology, this weekend on Monaco’s highly demanding and complex circuit, which played host to the 9th and 10th races of the 2012 GP2 Series. Despite the difficulties encountered by the team’s drivers, Nigel Melker and Victor Guerin, the Portuguese team came close to the top 10 in Monaco. Qualifying was held in two separate groups in order to limit traffic on the track. Nigel Melker started from 19th place on the grid, and Victor Guerin had to start from the pit lane after stalling on the pre-grid. The Dutch driver made a good comeback and was closing in on the Top 10 when he brushed the rails in the tunnel. He retired immediately. Despite his handicap in the start and from still being in a learning phase in the GP2 Series, the Brazilian driver moved up many positions and crossed the finish line in 16th place.
The second race was packed with incidents, including one that caused Victor Guerin to DNF following a collision with a competitor. Nigel Melker managed to avoid the pitfalls, finishing the race in 12th place. “I have mixed feelings about the weekend, because we had the speed but it didn’t come together” said Nigel Melker. “In qualifying we didn’t bring everything together because of traffic and a little mistake. So then you start from the back. We had the speed in the race, but I was behind Trummer and he was very slow and I couldn’t overtake him. Our plan was to do a late pitstop but he did the same. When Trummer went in, I was nearly 2 seconds faster, so we did 5 more laps and then we did the pitstop. I came back on in position 13 and had some good laptimes, I did the fastest first sector, but then I crashed coming out of the tunnel. It was my mistake. In the second race, I had to start from the back and as we know in Monaco it’s very hard to overtake so we used the race as a test and tried a lot of things on the track to have some good knowledge for next year!”
Victor Guerin feels that his second race weekend in the GP2 Series was constructive. “All things considered, it was a promising weekend. I did not know the circuit, I adapted gradually to it and in the first race I was already much more at ease. I started last, but I think I was competitive. I am sad I was unable to complete the second race, but those are race incidents. I think I can be even more competitive in Valencia.”
Tiago Monteiro and José Guedes declared, “The Monaco circuit is never easy, for any driver, and it is obviously even more complicated for rookies. Nigel was well-positioned to finish in the Top 10 in the first race, but a little mistake in the tunnel forced him to retire. In the second race, the track was blocked by 8 cars following a pile-up. Nigel had a good pace and finished in an encouraging 12th place. For Victor, the task was even more difficult because it was the first time he was driving in Monaco and only the second time in the GP2 Series. His 10 place climb in the first race shows that he is a fast driver who adapted to the circuit and the car. We were hoping he would do better in the second race, but he couldn’t do anything once he was hit by another car. His development is very satisfactory and we will prepare for Valencia with the certainty that we can achieve good results.”
The next GP2 Series races will be held in Valencia, Spain, June 22 – 24.