Sunday, July 31, 2011

Successful Weekend

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Rio Haryanto won his second GP3 Series race of the season today at the Hungaroring in Budapest and becomes the second driver after Championship leader Valteri Bottas to win more than one race this season. The early morning rain didn’t frighten Rio, who came home to another brilliant win after starting from 9th on the grid. After today’s win and yesterday’s podium finish, the 6th round of the GP3 Series Championship was a successful weekend for Marussia Manor Racing.

The weekend began with two busy Free Practice sessions on Friday, both interrupted by red flags due to a crash involving Luciano Bacheta in the morning and because of Gabby Chaves stopping at turn 10 in the afternoon. That didn’t leave much track time for the drivers. Nearly half of the field traded turns at the top of the timesheet, with all three Marussia Manor Racing drivers ending up in the top 16 in both sessions and within a second from the best time.

On Saturday morning the qualifying session took place. Adrian was the first to break the 1 minute 39s barrier to go top of the timesheet in the frenetic first minutes of qualifying, as the 30 drivers battled hard to find clean air. Rio was the fastest Marussia Manor Racing driver, qualifying 6th after establishing a best time of 1:37.396, 0.6s off the pole position time. Adrian ended up 9th with a best time of 1:37.515 and Matias was classified 16th and also within a second behind poleman Valteri Bottas.

Adrian got off to an excellent start in Saturday’s 16-lap race, and by the end of the first lap he had stormed up to 3rd position. From then on he was locked in a long battle with Alexander Sims and Nico Müller for the final podium placing. With Rio fighting for 9th position and Matias battling for 14th, Adrian was pushing hard for 3rd and in the final few laps he found himself defending just as hard from a charging Müller. But it was Adrian who finally crossed the line in 3rd position, achieving his second podium finish of the season and adding 6 more valuable points to his tally. Rio finished 9th and Matias was 14th.

Today’s second race began in rainy conditions. Rio stormed up to the front of the field quickly after starting the race from 9th position. Unfortunately Adrian stalled but Matias got off to a good start and delivered his best race of the season so far, running in 9th position until the final laps. The track was wet and slippery but Rio managed to stay out of trouble and manage the two Safety Car periods perfectly, crossing the line in first position. Adrian ended up 11th and Matias finished 22nd.

Pete Sliwinski, Team Principal
“The good results just keep coming and you can get used to this very quickly. It’s great to end up on the podium so frequently. I’m delighted with the results in the last races – we have won 3 races in the last 4 race weekends. We have to continue working in this direction and get the best out of the final two rounds of the Championship.”

Rio Haryanto
“It’s fantastic to celebrate another win only a week after winning in Germany. I’m so happy! It has been another positive weekend for me and the team, who are doing an excellent job. It’s the perfect way to get to the summer break.”

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
“I’m really happy to have achieved another podium finish. It’s such a great feeling! Even though the weekend didn’t start as well as we expected, we didn’t let that affect us. We knew that this was a track that suited us, as in the mid-season test at the beginning of June here in Budapest we did a good job and were always in the top positions. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish in the points today but I am happy with my weekend.”

Matias Laine
“It’s been a good weekend. We were in much better form here in Budapest and I was much closer to the top times. My race pace was also better and I am happy to see that we are making progress.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thrilling Win

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Marussia Manor Racing GP3 driver Rio Haryanto won his first race of the season in dramatic style this afternoon at the Nürburgring.
Rain was threatening minutes before the start of the race but everyone except the front row starters decided to start the race on slicks. Luckily for Rio the rain stayed away for the first part of the race and he was able to move from 3rd on the grid to 2nd by the end of the first lap.
The race settled down in the dry, with Rio driving at a constant pace from start to finish. A grid penalty for Mitch Evans for changing his tyres after the three minutes start warning left Rio clear in 2nd position.
Finally, the predicted rain started to fall, bunching the top five closely together. Rio initially closed onto the back of Williamson, and as it started to rain even harder he briefly snatched the lead from Valteri Bottas, the leader at the time. The final laps were an thrilling battle between the three drivers, but it was Rio who finally came home to a brilliant win in the most challenging of conditions.
This is the first win of the season for Rio and the second one for Marussia Manor Racing; Adrian Quaife-Hobbs also won the feature race in Valencia.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good Race Pace

The fourth round of the GP3 Series Championship got off to a good start at Silverstone for Marussia Manor Racing yesterday, as Adrian Quaife-Hobbs achieved the first pole position of the year for him and the team. His best lap of 1:51.190 put him nearly 0.4s clear of second place man James Calado. With only one second covering the top ten, it was another extremely competitive session. Rio Haryanto ended up only 0.7s away from the fastest time (1:51.932) and classified ninth, while Matias Laine was sixteenth.

It was then time for Marussia Manor Racing’s first race of the weekend in front of its home crowd. Yesterday’s race got underway under tricky conditions as it started to rain seconds before the formation lap. Adrian, who was on pole, was one of the 19 drivers that entered the pits to switch to wet Pirelli P-Zero tyres, starting the race from the pit lane.

It was very difficult to stay on track due to its conditions, with Adrian dropping down to 9th. Matias’ race was cut very short as he was forced off track by Maxim Zimin, who was penalised and suspended from Race 2.

Meanwhile, Adrian was showing the rest of the field that he meant business and after the first laps he was already 4th and within podium contention. Rio once again demonstrated good race pace again and was fighting for a points finish, ending up 11th. Adrian finally crossed the line in 4th position.

Today’s second race didn’t get off to a good start for Adrian as he stalled on the grid. But he recovered quickly and his race pace was soon quicker than the leaders of the race, posting the fastest lap of the race, a 1:52.916. Rio also confirmed he was fast and did some excellent moves. After starting from 11th on the grid, he finally crossed the line in 4th position after a very strong race, achieving his first three points of the season. Unfortunately, Matias’ race was over on lap 2 after he spun and was obliged to retire after breaking the floor of the car.

After Marussia Manor Racing’s home Grand Prix, Adrian is now 7th in the Championship with 18 points, 11 behind the leader, while Rio is 19th. The next round of the GP3 Series Championship will take place in Germany on 22-24 July.

Pete Sliwinski, Team Principal
“This is the level we should have been competing at since the beginning of the season – fighting for top positions and starting races from pole position. The team has worked very hard during the past few weeks and we can finally say that we are back in the fight for top positions. It’s always special to race on home soil and in front of the passionate British crowd. We started the weekend very well with Adrian on pole, but then we had unexpected difficulties at the start of both races that complicated things a bit. The good news is that we are quick.”

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
“Qualifying was a brilliant session and it felt great to finally end up on pole position and at our home race. It’s difficult to put into words how it feels. The team once again did a fantastic job and we have carried the momentum from our race in Valencia to here. Unfortunately we didn’t get off to a good start in either yesterday or today’s race, but I am happy because we have demonstrated that we are fast.”

Rio Haryanto
“I am happy to have finally finished a race in the points. It was a hard race today as we started from eleventh position, but I managed to perform well and finish 4th. We clearly have good race pace and if we carry on like this I’m sure the good results will continue to come.”

Matias Laine
“I wasn’t very lucky this weekend. On Friday I couldn’t complete many laps during the practice sessions and I wasn’t able to finish any races. Yesterday I was forced off track and today I had to retire after a spin where I broke the floor of the car, so it hasn’t really been a good weekend for me.”