Rossi finds no luck in Monte Carlo |

Rossi finds no luck in Monte Carlo

Submitted photo
Submitted photo |

Nevada County native Alexander Rossi and the Cartham Racing team took to Monte Carlo, Monaco, for the second European race of the GP2 season.

After struggling in Thursday’s qualifying session, Rossi drew the 13th position in Friday’s feature race.

“I have always been confident in Monaco and have enjoyed some good results here in the past,” Rossi said before the race. “Starting mid-pack in Monaco is never going to be easy, but we’ve worked hard on a good strategy for the race one and my personal goal will be to get to the top eight. This is achievable if I get a good start and a clean first lap.”

Unfortunately for Rossi, luck was not on his side and a good start along with a clean first lap were not in the cards.

Monaco is notorious for its turn one incidents and Friday was no different for the GP2 feature race.

Johnny Cecotto was hot off the line from pole position, but lost control and hit the wall at turn one causing a concertina effect behind him as one by one the top 13 cars piled into each other. Rossi was unlucky to be caught between Robin Frijns in front and Stefano Coletti behind.

The race was red flagged and resumed after 45 minutes to clear up operation where confusion reigned. Drivers were unsure whether they could restart the race or not. Rossi was one of the unlucky ones, unable to take the restart following a steward’s decision, a major disappointment after making up six places off the line and in a strong position to race for the coveted top eight positions in Race one.

“This was a typically eventful Monaco race,” Chief engineer Humphrey Corbett said. “Starting with a crash and ending in lots of finger wagging and recriminations. It is a bitter shame for Alexander and we feel it was unfair that some cars were allowed to restart and Alexander was not, a decision which we challenged but that is Monaco. I have been engineering at Monaco for forty years and it is a special event where marshaling is extremely challenging and somebody usually loses out.”

Rossi expressed disappointment in the result especially because he had started the race so strong.

“I had a great start and was on the inside line challenging for seventh place going into turn one which was exactly where I wanted to be,” Rossi said.

“It was instant carnage ahead and me along with most the cars around me had nowhere to go. It was disappointing to end my day this way after a great start and what seemed to be a good recovery from practice and qualifying. There was then confusion with the marshals, drivers and the team about getting out of the car and the restart process with some cars being pushed back to the grid. When we received the message that I was unable to restart the race I was gutted as I am sure a top seven finish was achievable following my start.”

Following Friday’s GP2 feature race where Rossi’s day ended at turn one in a thirteen car pileup, placing him in 23rd of 25 on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint Race.

Dark clouds loomed and rain fell as the cars lined up on the grid but it was not enough to warrant wet tires and the race started on time.

With lessons learnt from the Friday feature race, all 25 cars made it through the first corner without incident.

Rossi made another good start with so little room for error around the streets of Monaco. The race was a bit of a procession around Monaco without a pit stop in the sprint race. Monaco is notoriously impossible to overtake and better their positions.

Aside from no pit stops the sprint race did not have a full course caution or safety either to allow drivers grab positions on the restart. Rossi was able to find a few openings and brought the car home in 19th.

“Today was always going to be difficult as I started the race in 23rd place after not being allowed to restart the feature race,” Rossi said. “We took a risk in the race to run on super soft tires in the hope to gain early track position. I had another good start, but so did everyone else and it’s difficult to overtake in Monaco. I believed when it began to rain on the grid that I’d have an advantage if everyone pitted for wets to gain even more positions. This never happened and unfortunately we struggled with even more understeer throughout the race. This was not a good weekend for track results on my favorite circuit. We will improve on this before Silverstone next month.”

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