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Looking ahead to the next round of the GP2 Series the Marussia Carlin team will take on the final European round before the season finale in Singapore later this month. After a frustrating weekend which started off with Rio Haryanto taking a dominant pole position in Spa, neither races went to plan for either him or Max Chilton. Putting the frustrations of Belgium behind them, both Chilton and Haryanto are aiming to convert the team’s speed into some serious points this weekend. Monza will mark the penultimate round of the GP2 Series in a year which has been Carlin’s most successful championship season to date.

Having raced at Monza on a number of occasions in the past both Chilton and Haryanto have had success at the Italian circuit over the years. Chilton took a great pole position in 2008 during the British Formula Three Championship while Haryanto claimed two podiums and a fastest lap at the track last year in the GP3 Series.

Looking ahead to the penultimate round and currently lying sixth in the championship, Chilton said, ‘I’m really looking forward to Monza, it’s one of the great circuits that every driver wants to win at, as well as being the fastest track of the year. The weather, the park, the crowds all make it a really enjoyable event. We had a few issues in Spa, but I think we have the potential to be strong again in Monza.’

Team mate Haryanto added ‘I’m really looking forward to Monza this weekend. I have good memories from the past two years competing here with the GP3 Series and taking three podiums from four races. I think we’ve made a lot of progress these past couple of races and I’m confident of getting points again this weekend and hopefully a podium position.’

Track action will commence with practice on Friday at 12.00 local time, followed by qualifying at 16.00. Saturday’s Feature race will take place at 15.40 on Saturday while Sunday’s Sprint Race will bring the season’s European action to a close at 10.35.

Marussia Carlin GP2 drivers Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto faced opposite fortunes at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium today, in this morning’s GP2 Sprint race. Chilton’s race was effectively over by the first corner as the British racer was hit by another driver which saw him lose his front wing. Team mate Haryanto meanwhile made a great start and coped well with tyre wear to cross the line in seventh place and add further points to his tally.

It was another hectic first lap as this morning’s GP2 Sprint Race got underway at Spa. Both Marussia Carlin drivers initially made a good start, but Chilton was left in the middle of the track as the cars entered La Source. The Carlin man soon saw his race ruined by Jonny Cecotto – who had been on the grass for the run up the start/finish straight to the first corner – piled into Chilton’s rear right wheel, putting the British racer into a spin which also saw him lose his front wing.

While Chilton was suffering misfortune, Haryanto had made good progress from his tenth place grid slot and was up to sixth. The GP2 rookie once again had Marcus Ericsson behind him in a replay of yesterday’s race, but this time the Carlin man was staying ahead.

Despite heavy damage Chilton managed to limp back to the pits, where the Carlin team were waiting with a new nose box and front wing, allowing Chilton to rejoin in 22nd place.

As Ericsson dropped back, Haryanto soon had Esteban Gutierrez to contend with. Despite defending hard Haryanto lost the position on lap five and dropped to seventh place.

Ericsson was back in Haryanto’s mirrors a few laps later however, passing Haryanto, but the Indonesian made up two places on lap 11 after contact between Julian Leal and Gutierrez in the fight for the podium. That put Haryanto in sixth place, while Chilton was 20th.

Once again tyre degradation became the issue for the majority of drivers in the final stages of this morning’s Sprint Race. Haryanto was one driver involved in several changes for position with Fabio Leimer passing him for sixth on lap 14. Despite a close challenge from Stefano Coletti, Haryanto held on though, and crossed the line in seventh place to take two further points.

Chilton meanwhile was the quickest car on track, and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 15, although the British racer crossed the line in 22nd, after being the innocent victim in the lap one accident.

Two events remain in the GP2 calendar, as the drivers enjoying back-to-back races with the penultimate round in Monza next weekend. Chilton remains in sixth place in the drivers’ standings despite this weekend’s disappointing results, while Haryanto is 13th.

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Marussia Carlin GP2 drivers at Spa-Francorchamps, as Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto took part in today’s Feature Race. Despite starting from pole and leading the field, a spin on cold tyres for GP2 rookie Haryanto left the Indonesian at the back of the field. The 19 year-old did well to fight back to tenth place, just ahead of team mate Chilton who was 12th.

Haryanto coped well with the pressure of his maiden GP2 pole, and after a steady getaway, did well to defend from a flying Esteban Gutierrez at the start to maintain the lead. As the race got underway Haryanto was leading from Marcus Ericsson who was close behind. However, the more experienced Ericsson passed him soon after, just before the safety car emerged following a heavy accident for Nigel Melker.

As the race was neutralised, Haryanto was second, while Chilton was 14th. The race for position then transferred to the pit lane, as the majority of the drivers dived into the pits to make their mandatory stop. A fantastic stop by the Carlin crew saw Haryanto beat Ericsson back out on track and effectively take back the race lead, but the young Indonesian spun on cold tyres at Les Combes soon after and dropped down the order.

Chilton meanwhile also had a good stop, but in avoidance of an unsafe release, was forced to sit in his pit box as several drivers passed and rejoined the track ahead of him in the busy pit lane.

As the marshals worked hard to repair the heavy damage done to the tyre wall following Melker’s accident, the race was red flagged and the drivers returned to the grid in their current order. The short delay soon turned into a lengthier one, as the restart was held off until the medical helicopter could return having taken Melker to hospital.

When the race was finally restarted it was behind the safety car, with Chilton in 14th and Haryanto 19th. A flurry of penalties for other drivers and several late pit stops saw Chilton and Haryanto climb back up the order and with seven laps to go Chilton was 11th while Haryanto was 14th.

Chilton made up one further place in lap 10 when he passed Guerin for tenth, while his team mate was also making progress with a move on Felipe Nasr for 12th the following lap.

A troublesome pit stop for Stefano Coletti saw Chilton and Haryanto climb to ninth and tenth on lap 22, but Haryanto, clearly frustrated with his earlier spin was keen to make amends and passed his team mate for ninth shortly after.

With just two laps to go the young Indonesian was on top form and closing in on eighth place and the race two reverse grid pole position. Despite pushing hard, Haryanto was passed by Nasr who had also overtaken Chilton, and at the chequered flag Haryanto took the final point in 10th while Chilton was 12th.

Reflecting on his race, Haryanto said, “Obviously it’s a bit disappointing. I had the lead at the start and the team did a great job in the pits, but I was on cold tyres and the car just surprised me and snapped away and there was nothing I could do. I’m frustrated, but it’s a mistake I won’t make again. Afterwards I had good pace and fought hard to get back in the points. Nasr managed to get past me right at the end; I tried to fight back on the long straight but I was hitting the limiter and couldn’t quite get the position back. I learnt a lot from today’s race.”

This weekend’s GP2 Sprint Race will take place at 10.35 local time.

Carlin’s GP2 Series team look ahead to the next round of the championship this weekend following their maiden win last time out in Hungary. Marussia Carlin driver Max Chilton heads to Spa-Francorchamps in a confident mood after taking victory in Hungary, while team mate Rio Haryanto is aiming to add to his points haul in his rookie season.

The previous round was a brilliant showing for the entire GP2 team with Chilton coming home to take the team’s first ever win in the Series following an impressive pole position during qualifying the previous day. Haryanto had one of his best performances of the season to come home in seventh position with a great opportunistic overtaking move completed on the final lap.

Located in the Ardennes forest the Spa-Francorchamps circuit suffers from unpredictable weather conditions which can change a race in seconds as the cars make their way around longest circuit on the GP2 calendar. Races are often thrown into chaos as rain falls on one side of the circuit but not on the other – making tyre strategy all the more important.

Hungary race winner Chilton is looking forward to getting back in the car after a lengthy break. “It was great to go into the four week break on a high with the confidence following the race win in Hungary. For Spa we have to maintain the motivation.

“The weather can either play into your hands or ruin your race. I’ve always loved the circuit though so we’ll see what happens this weekend.’

After an absence of three weeks the GP2 Series resumes this weekend in Valencia where the Marussia Carlin GP2 team will once again be hitting the track with drivers Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto as the 2012 season continues. Both Carlin drivers have scored points so far this season, with Chilton providing the team with its best ever finish in the championship after his storming drive to second position last time out in Monaco. Rookie team mate Haryanto has also been putting in some strong performances throughout the year.

The sixth round of the season will see the Carlin team descend on the Valencia street circuit – a semi-permanent track which makes the most of the views and roads around the city’s harbour area.

This will be the second and final street circuit that the championship visits this year. Both Carlin men have already battled around a twisty Monaco where Chilton take a stunning second place in the weekend’s sprint race. Chilton’s form sees him currently lying fourth in the driver standings.

Team mate Haryanto has been a solid runner in only his first season in the GP2 Series. The 19 year old from Indonesia has already gained a tally of 16 points which places him 15th in the overall standings – an impressive feat for his rookie year, having made the jump from the GP3 Series.

Looking ahead to this weekend Haryanto said, ‘I’m looking forward to Valencia this weekend, after a strong start to the season unfortunately I haven’t scored points in the last two events, so I’m hoping to pick up some more this weekend.

‘I’ve been in the simulator preparing for the race and I know the track well from having driven it last year in GP3. It’s a mixed track with slow corners in the first two sectors and high speed corners in the final sector. But it’s a track I like so I can’t wait to get back in the car.’

Track action will commence with practice on Friday at 12.00 local time.

Max ChiltonMax Chilton and Rio Haryanto completed a successful opening weekend in the 2012 GP2 Series, finishing seventh and tenth respectively in the Sprint race this morning. Marussia Carlin driver Chilton started sixth and was involved in several close battles on his way to seventh place and his second points finish of the weekend. Team mate Rio Haryanto finished in the top ten and claimed his first GP2 points for fastest lap.

Following his podium finish yesterday, Chilton lined up sixth on the grid today for the first reverse grid race of the season. With only the top eight reversed, Haryanto started in his finishing position from race one, in 12th place. At the start Chilton took the inside line at the first corner and found himself swamped as several cars took to the outside, and had dropped to 10th by the end of the first lap. Team mate Haryanto also suffered a similar start and dropped a couple of places from his 12th place grid slot.

Chilton was quick to fight back however and was a constant presence in the mirrors of Davide Valsecchi in the fight for eighth, while Haryanto was 14th. The 19 year-old Indonesian was soon making progress however, and had moved up to 13th on lap four and 12th just a few laps later due to a drive through for Fabrizio Crestani.

The fight between Chilton and Valsecchi continued for several laps, while Haryanto continued to make progress. The GP3 graduate was less than 10 seconds behind the leader on lap 11.

Chilton meanwhile was involved in more close racing as Valsecchi closed in on Luiz Razia in the fight for seventh. While Valsecchi and Razia were wheel to wheel and preoccupied with their own fight, Chilton seized the momentum to close in behind the duo. As Valsecchi ran wide, Chilton was in the perfect position to take advantage and snatch eighth, and put under pressure a recovering Razia.

Chilton’s next battle came as Razia closed in on Stefano Coletti. Again, Chilton was ready to take advantage of the squabble ahead, but ran wide which allowed Nathanaël Berthon through and pushed Chilton down to ninth.

Haryanto meanwhile had quietly been making his own progress and was now just behind Chilton in 10th place. Chilton was on the move again and a lap later re-passed Berthon for eighth and started chasing down Coletti again. With three laps remaining Chilton passed Coletti for seventh.

The action continued right to the line for Haryanto, who was wheel to wheel with Josef Kral before being involved in a close tussle and pit straight drag race with Tom Dillmann. Haryanto held on, taking 10th place by just 0.053 seconds from Dillmann. Highlighting his potential in the series, Haryanto also recorded the fastest lap to claim two championship points – his first in the GP2 Series.

“It was a very exciting race”, said Chilton “and again our pace was good. The car was brilliant and I raced as hard as I could. With some clear air I could have shown how fast the car really was, but the racing was great fun. I’m really looking forward to Bahrain!”

Haryanto was also happy with his performance commenting, “It was a fun race today, my start wasn’t so great but the car was quick and I pushed hard to make up the places. To get two points for the fastest lap is great and I think completes a good first weekend in the series. I can’t wait to get on the track again in Bahrain.”

Trevor Carlin added, “To have two cars in the top ten and score points today shows the step forward the team have made over the winter. We have a quick car and two drivers who clearly – based on their performances today – are real racers, which is the perfect combination for any team. Max and Rio have been fantastic this weekend.”

The GP2 Series continues in Bahrain from 20 – 22 April.

British race team Carlin have enjoyed a successful start to the 2012 season, with the team’s British F3 and GP3 squads topping the time sheets in pre-season testing. Carlin’s GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 teams have also clocked up times in the top three to mark a strong start to the season over the last two weeks.

British racer Harry Tincknell topped the timesheets in the second day of British F3 testing at Rockingham today, as the team continued to develop its Volkswagen powered 2012 Dallara F3 car. Tincknell’s time was the fastest of the test overall, after fellow Carlin driver Jack Harvey set the pace at Rockingham yesterday. The Carlin men have locked out the top five positions at both the Rockingham and Snetterton pre-season tests, with their team mates Jazeman Jaafar, Carlos Sainz and Pietro Fantin over the last two weeks.

While the British F3 team finished two days of testing at Rockingham today, Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team brought to a close two days of collective testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens both completed a successful test in the brand new FR3.5 car, with Magnussen setting the third fastest time of today’s running.

The Carlin GP3 team also enjoyed a successful outing this week, with Portuguese racer Antonio Felix da Costa setting the quickest time of the official two day test for Carlin. Will Buller was also in the top ten while Alex Brundle continued to make big improvements ahead of his first season in the series.

Preparing for the 2012 GP2 Series, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were out on track last week, at the Barcelona circuit in Spain. A consistent front runner in pre-season testing, Chilton set the second fastest time on the first day in Barcelona while Haryanto was seventh. The Briton and Indonesian continued to put in a strong performance in the final test before the season opener in Malaysia later this month.

Reflecting on a positive start to the 2012 season, Trevor Carlin said, “With 12 cars to prepare for the 2012 season across four championships, it’s a great testament to the team that all four squads have had such a strong start to the season. To finish each test within the top three is extremely encouraging and shows the hard work that has gone in over the winter period.”

The Marussia Carlin GP2 team enjoyed a successful first day of official testing in Barcelona today, with British driver Max Chilton setting the fastest time of the afternoon. Chilton’s time was quick enough to make him the second fastest driver of the day overall. Team mate Rio Haryanto continued to make excellent progress ahead of his first season in the series and finished the day seventh fastest overall.

It was a slow start for the GP2 drivers this morning as a cold start to the test prompted most teams to stay in the garages until conditions improved. Despite preparing for his rookie season in the GP2 Series, 19 year-old Haryanto demonstrated the progress he was making to set the fourth fastest time of the morning, while Chilton chose to save his new tyres for the afternoon session and was ninth.

Following time with their engineers over the lunch break, Chilton and Haryanto were back on track for the afternoon. While the early stages of the session were marred by two red flags, the second half of the session passed without incident allowing the drivers to complete a detailed test programme. After making various set-up changes, Chilton posted the fastest time of the afternoon with an hour of running still to go, but the Briton’s time remained unbeaten for the rest of the session.

With the morning session seeing the slightly quicker times, Chilton’s lap time of 1.29.479 was enough to put him second fastest of the day, while Haryanto was an impressive seventh fastest overall.

Reflecting on his day on track, Chilton said, “Today has been a great day to show that our work throughout the winter is taking us in the right direction. We were quick last week at the Jerez test and now we have proved that we are quick here as well. The team has jelled into a brilliant unit and it’s a great environment to work in for a driver.”

Trevor Carlin added, “The team are doing a great job and have made a fantastic start to the season with two successful tests so far. Max is really leading the team and his experience is really paying dividends now, while Rio has impressed us hugely with his mature attitude and progress so far.”

Testing continues tomorrow.

Max ChiltonCarlin’s GP2 driver Max Chilton got his first taste of F1 machinery this week when he took part in a straight-line aerodynamic test for the Force India F1 team. The 20 year-old Briton impressed the team with his mature attitude during the test at Kemble
yesterday.

Standing in for the team’s race drivers who were otherwise engaged, Chilton helped the team carry out much of its programme and gathered valuable data which will be used in Singapore, although the day was cut short due to an exhaust problem.

Force India’s Oliver Knighton, who is race support engineer said, “We were able to record the important aero data, which we will analyse over the next few days.

“I’d like to say a special ‘thank you’ to Max, who enjoyed his first taste of an F1 car today. He prepared himself very well and adapted quickly to the procedures and systems on the car, all of which allowed us to make good progress with the programme.”

Chilton was delighted to have been given his first taste of F1, adding, “It was an amazing experience and I’d like to thank Force India for giving me the opportunity and for making me feel so comfortable in the car. I think I was able to help the team gather some good data – which of course was the priority. Getting any amount of seat time in an F1 car is a privilege and I’m extremely grateful for the experience.”

Photo by GP3 Media Services.

Max ChiltonCarlin’s Max Chilton finished in a very strong seventh place in the GP2 Monaco Feature race today, following a chaotic race around the Principality. Team mate Oliver Turvey finished seventh on the road, but was later handed a 30 second penalty for not having taken a drive-through penalty. Turvey’s penalty meant he was classified 15th, the position he will take on the grid tomorrow. Chilton will line up second in tomorrow’s reverse grid race, taking Carlin’s first front row start in GP2.

A brief rain shower a few minutes before the race this morning caused a few moments of concern for the GP2 drivers, but the sky soon cleared and the sun emerged. Lining up on the grid for race one, Chilton was seventh, while Turvey was 15th.

As the lights went out the stalled car of pole sitter Sam Bird provided an immediate obstacle for Chilton, who was forced to swerve to the left to avoid him. In the melee both Jules Bianchi and Esteban Gutierrez managed to get through. In the run down to the first corner Chilton was wheel to wheel with Jonny Cecotto, but the young Brit held his ground and kept the position. At the end of the first lap Chilton was eighth.

After a compromised qualifying session yesterday, Turvey started in the middle of the field and was boxed in at the start. The Racing Steps graduate lost out to Luiz Razia and Dani Clos and by the end of the first lap was 17th, just ahead of Romain Grojean.

By lap seven, Chilton was still eighth behind Gutierrez and holding a comfortable two second gap from Cecotto in ninth. Turvey meanwhile was 15th.

Chilton pitted from eighth on lap nine, the Carlin team changed both rear tyres, with the 20 year-old returning to the track in 14th, just behind Bird and in front of Charles Pic. Bird pitted a lap later elevating Chilton to 13th.

By lap 14, Chilton had cleared both Bianchi and Gutierrez during the pit stop window and was 10th. Turvey meanwhile was making his way through the field and had climbed to third when he made an unexpected pit stop on lap 16. With his radio broken, Turvey was unable to tell his team he was pitting, but the Carlin mechanics did well to return Turvey to the track in a promising ninth place. Almost immediately the team were notified of a drive through penalty for Turvey who was deemed to have jumped the start.

With no radio contact with his team, Turvey was unaware of the penalty and continued to race, and was running seventh on lap 24, with Chilton just behind him in eighth.

The safety car was deployed on lap 34 to clear away debris following an accident between Marcus Ericsson and Sam Bird, with Ericsson’s rear wing lying on the exit of the tunnel. The racing resumed on lap 36, with both Turvey and Chilton still holding onto position in seventh and eighth respectively.

At the chequered flag Turvey was seventh with Chilton eighth, which would effectively have given Carlin a front row lock out in tomorrow’s reverse grid race. However, Turvey was handed a 30 second penalty for not having taken his drive through and was finally classified 15th . That elevated Chilton to a very strong seventh place, which will give him a front row start on the grid tomorrow.

Speaking about his race, Chilton said, “It was a great race, although it felt quite long! I made a good start but had to find a way past Bird and Bianchi made a good start and got past me. In the early stages I had a good pace and was able to stay quite comfortably ahead of Cecotto. In the second half of the race, the team had told me that Oliver had a drive though, so I didn’t want to risk anything trying to pass him, especially as he is my team mate. Then the safety car closed us all up again, but I held my place at the restart. I think we did a good job as a team today, I’m pleased to have taken some points and we’re in a great position on the grid tomorrow.”

“It was a very exciting and challenging race for the team and drivers with a major element of confusion thrown in due to radio failure on Oliver’s car. This affected our ability to inform him of his drive through penalty and as importantly to notify him when to pit. Under the circumstances the mechanics did a fantastic job. Max drove a faultless race and richly deserved to score points this morning. Oliver was unlucky in that his car moved slightly when he put it into gear on the grid and it wasn’t a jump start as such, but rules are rules.”