14.04.2012: The first race of the Marrakech Auto GP weekend was a real thriller that in the end saw Sergio Campana clinch an impressive
The first race of the Marrakech Auto GP weekend was a real thriller that in the end saw Sergio Campana clinch an impressive win ahead of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and early race leader Pål Varhaug. Here is what the podium finishers said after the race.
That final laps were really the highlight of the Race, tell us how it was from your cockpit.
“It was really hard, because in the last few laps my rear tyres were really gone. I had wheelspin everywhere, even on the straight, and so keeping Adrian at bay was really difficult. He had more traction than me and that meant that at each corner exit he was getting really close.
He came alongside me more than once, but I was determined not to let him through and that’s what I did. At the last chicane he managed to get the inside line but as soon as I realized that, I decided that I was going to brake as late as possible and I kept the lead”.
The result is a deserved reward for MLR71, taking a win at their fifth race in the Series is quite an achievement…
“I’m really happy for the team, they did a terrific job. If you look at our performances we have always been quick with this car, we were on top right from the Official Test in Monza.
Then for many reasons we didn’t manage to make the most of our potential, we made some mistakes that can happen in a very young team like ours, but the potential was always there. So getting this win means having the deserved reward for all the hard work we put in our commitment”.
Were you expecting Quaife-Hobbs to try so hard considering that he’s leading the championship?
“At first I thought that maybe he would have been happy with 2nd place, as it was good for his championship aims. Anyway, I soon realized that he was going to give me a hard time. It was an hard but fair fight, I enjoyed it a lot”.
One of the keys to your second place was a good start: you made up two places, and then opted for an early pit-stop.
“We knew that from P5 on the grid a good start was needed to hope for a podium finish, and luckily I got away well. Anyway, my first laps were a bit difficult: we opted for starting on very old tyres and that meant that I lost five seconds to Campana before my stop.
Once I changed to new softs, I knew I really had to push. I did it, and if it wasn’t for Spavone, who made me lose at least a couple of second cutting the chicane when I had already gone through, I think that I would have gone past Campana when he pitted. Instead, I was right on his gearbox when he came out of the pit-lane.
And then at least three amazing laps came…
“In the first couple of laps tried to understand if Sergio was leaving some gaps, but when I saw that he really started to struggle with traction I decided to attack.
I was trying as hard as I could without risking crashing and one time I did manage to get onto Sergio's inside, but he had some power-boost to spare and was able to get ahead. I had used all mine in the first part of the race, and so there was nothing I could do”.
We were expecting you to think a bit more about the championship, taking less risks maybe.
“It’s too early for that, we are just into the 3rd event and still have four to go, so I just want to win races. Everybody can still be a title contender at this stage, so winning is the best thing you can do to keep your rivals at bay”.
Losing a win for a mistake is always disappointing, but until the pit-stop your race had been perfect…
The start was good, but in the first few laps I was struggling a bit in putting heat into the tyres and Campana was making a lot of pressure from behind.
Anyway the situation improved lap after lap, I started building a gap and the race was looking good. Then the pit-stop came and I made a mistake and stalled the car, there isn’t much more to say.
A win, with Quaife-Hobbs third, would have been good for the Championship…
As Adrian said, at this stage it’s not that much about the championship, basically you just want to win races, that’s what we’re here for. Anyway it’s still a third place, a good podium finish, so I don’t want to think too much about it.
I’m gonna take the positives from today: we were really quick, we have a good potential and we still have another race to try and make the most of it”.
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