Today, DAMS took part in free practice and qualifying for the fifth round of the 2009 GP2 Series Championship on the Nürburgring in Germany.

After a couple of character-building races at Silverstone three weeks ago, the team was determined to bounce back at the ‘Ring with a top-class performance. But neither Kamui Kobayashi nor Jérôme d’Ambrosio shone today, as they had problems getting the best out of their tyres on an unusually cold track this morning.

In qualifying, the Japanese driver had a competitive first run. The engineers then made a few setup changes to correct the balance of his car. Unfortunately, Kamui was unable to improve when he went out again; he finished fifteenth.

Jérôme was 0.8s up on his last flying lap and looked set to snatch sixth place when another driver went off in front of him. The yellow flag was hung out and the Belgian had to lift off. He failed to improve and ended the session in nineteenth place.

Eric Boullier, team manager: “The Nürburgring can be a capricious circuit and today was a perfect example. Very low temperatures, intermittent drizzle and a very slippery track made things extremely tricky for the drivers and engineers. We thought we’d managed to adapt our cars to these conditions for qualifying, but it proved not to be the case. Despite a few adjustments Kamui did not manage to move up the time sheets, and we have to find out why by analysing his data this evening. Jérôme was in the process of driving an almost perfect lap until a yellow flag put paid to his chances. It’s tough but we’re still motivated for the rest of the weekend and we’ll give it our best shot tomorrow.”

Kamui Kobayashi: 15th on the grid tomorrow
“We were hoping for a lot better on arriving here. The track conditions caused us a few problems this morning. My first run in qualifying was promising, but unfortunately, I was unable to improve on my second and final one. It’s disappointing but it’s better to forget it and concentrate on the race itself. It’s not over till the chequered flag and I’ll seize the slightest opportunity that comes my way.”

Jérôme d’Ambrosio: 19th on the grid tomorrow
“You can never be happy with the nineteenth-quickest time. What enrages me is that we had the speed. Without the yellow flag at the end of the session, I could have started from one of the first three rows of the grid, and that would have transformed my weekend. But there’s no use crying over split milk! We now have to get the best out of race incidents, go for an aggressive strategy, refine my car’s setup and really push in the race. Maybe we’ll score a few points!”