Rossi DNF in Bahrain GP2 Asia round MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com drivers Luca Filippi and Alexander Rossi qualified fourth and fifteenth respectively for the start of the 34 lap first race in Bahrain. Qualify results put Filippi just four hundredths of a second off pole position in a very competitive session. But the best of the week-end was to come the following day when Luca Filippi finished in second position in the first race at Bahrain and went on the podium.
Indeed, it was a very special day today for the team. Not only the team raced a perfect race and finished 2nd. Filippi also clocked one of the fast laps in the first third of the race with 1.48.496. But today was also Team President and founder Peter Thompson's birthday a special birthday for him who turned 55 today in Bahrain. The drivers encountered mixed fortunes and the American Alexander Rossi experimented his first non finish of his season with MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com , damaging and loosing the floor of the car which brought the team to ask him for safety reasons to retire.
An excellent start brought Luca Filippi (20) rocketing from fourth to the lead of the race for the first twelve laps till the pit stops. Alexander Rossi also had an equally excellent start from 16th to 13th and then pushing to 12th and successively 10th and even 4th position during the pit stop sessions at the Bahrain track but then a damaged floor put an end to his hopes.
As the pit stop session started, Filippi was still leading and Rossi coming up to 4th fastest in the classification. Filippi completed his pit stop on lap 11 just after Villa did his. Alexander Rossi completed his stop on lap 12. They both rejoined the race as Davide Valsecchi (ISport International) still had to complete his pit stop and by lap 13, Javier Villa (Arden International) was leading the race lapping 1.48.054 with Luca Filippi in second continuing to show a dominant pace, with a time of 1.47.644 with Rossi in 11th place (1.50.227). Then Rossi regularly lost ground until he completed a second pit stop returning to the pits to retire on lap 26 where the team made the decision to retire for safety reasons.
There was an exciting finish. With eight laps to go the fight at the top was continuing and the distance between the leader Javier Villa (Arden International) and Luca Filippi was around 1s, but Davide Valsecchi (ISport International) went off losing a bit of time though later on continuing his attack of Filippi. After that, the Italian from ISport was putting some pressure on Luca Filippi and overtook him three laps before the end. Two laps before the end Filippi grabbed the second place again.
Peter Thompson, team founder " A great race for Filippi. Alexander Rossi (21) did a good job before his pit stop and got out in a good position, but he hit a curb and the floor of the car was gone. The team dedicated this race to our two best followers, Dato'Syed Sultan Idris, Ambassador of Malaysia and Enrico Padola Ambassador of the Republic of Italy and to all the Questnet fans who came to the track to follow us".
Raad S. Abduljawad, Team Chairman, MalaysiaQI-MeritusMaharaGP.com: "These eight points are a good gift from Luca Filippi to the team for Peter Thompson, on his 55th birthday. A good race that brought Luca Filippi (20) from fourth to the forefront and gained him a podium and eight points."
Luca Filippi commented: "Happy birthday Peter Thompson. I would have liked to win the race for the second time of my career. But I suppose we should have pitted slightly earlier to stop Villa being ahead of me. I had an amazing start, this is what I will remember from this race. We were very close to the win and I am very happy to bring this result to the team and Raad S. Abduljawad, Team Chairman who lives in Bahrain. In the end the team did a great job and I dedicate the win to them. Let's see what tomorrow brings."
Alexander Rossi commented: "I started from 15th and pushed hard to be in 13th and go higher at every lap. I was even fourth fastest at one point. I was getting the best out of the car, then after our pit stop I do not know what happened and I could not push any longer and it was getting dangerous for me to race so the team called me back in. What a pity. Tomorrow I will try to overtake and finish in good position despite leaving from the back of the grid."
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