Motorsport News - GP2
Dutch Racer De Jong Makes Competitive GP2 Return
31st July 2012
Rapax Team driver Danil De Jong made a strong return to GP2 Series action at the Hungaroring near Budapest over the weekend, 28th/29th July, with a highly competitive top 15 finish during the first of the events two races.
Just a week removed from securing his first on-track podium in the AUTO GP series with Manor MP Motorsport at Curitiba in Brazil, the 20-year-old impressed on his re-appearance in the FIA Formula One World Championship-supporting GP2 Series only his third career outing in the category.
Starting race one on Saturday afternoon from 25th on the grid after a tough qualifying session, the Karpack, Boix Europe and ECOCUPS-supported Dutchman gained three positions on the opening lap and immediately began to pressurise team-mate Ricardo Teixeira.
With overtaking at the Hungaroring always a challenge, Danil remained close behind Teixeira until the latter pitted for his mandatory tyre-change stop at the end of the sixth tour. By this point Danil was into 19th place and as more and more pit-visits were made, he climbed into the top dozen prior to his own stop at the end of lap 12 to change from his Super-Soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Unfortunately rejoining the track back behind Teixeira, Danil pressed on and instantly set about posting some impressive lap times including a best of 1m33.327 seconds on lap 18, a full 0.3 seconds quicker than race winner Max Chiltons fastest effort.
Working his way back into the top 20 by lap 25, Danil managed to get ahead of his team-mate on lap 26 which, coupled with an issue for Julian Leal, moved the Rapax rookie into 18th place. Over the final quarter of the race he continued to make up ground and took the flag on lap 37 inside the top 15 to ensure yet another strong result.
It was quite an ok race, said Danil, It was really warm, the conditions were tough for sure, and starting from P25 we had a lot of work to do qualifying didnt go as we wanted. The GP2 car is a lot harder to drive than the AUTO GP car, the braking is different and you do need to change your style quite a lot so thats one of the reasons qualifying wasnt so good, I had to adapt back from AUTO GP.
My start was ok and I took it quite easy to begin, there were some crashes but I survived all of that and then started to push more. My in-lap to the pits wasnt so good, and we lost some time in the pits as well, but the rest of the race was really good. The balance of the car was better, I overtook some people and I had the eighth quickest lap too. The second half of the race was good for sure.
Unfortunately, Sunday mornings encounter wasnt as fruitful for the Westmaas-based driver after slipping from the middle order at the start down to 24th on the opening lap. Faced with a very tall order, with overtaking opportunities at a premium, Danil quickly got into his stride and was back into the top 20 by lap 19.
With a huge five second deficit to make up on his next target, the Dutchman reeled off some superb laps and closed to within just 0.8 seconds of the train ahead with four laps remaining. Pushing hard over the final few miles of racing, Danil wasnt quite able to carve open the opportunity he wanted and had to settle for 19th place at the chequered flag.
Next on the racing schedule for Danil will be his final outing of the year in GP2, the Belgian Grand Prix supporting event at Spa-Francorchamps over the weekend 1st/2nd September. From there, he will prepare for the championship finale of the AUTO GP season which will take place at Infineon Raceway in the United States of America on 22nd/23rd September.
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