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The final round of the newly born GP2 Asia series was a very busy day for the teams and started today at the 5.39km "Grand Prix Circuit" Dubai Autodrome with an early morning practice session followed by the qualifying session and mid-afternoon, the first of the two races on the weekend.
Qi-Meritus.Mahara's Luca Filippi started strongly, setting the second fastest time in first practice while team mate Hiroki Yoshimoto was tenth. In the qualifying session, Luca Filippi only clocked ten laps after a problem with his clutch, but still managing to secure ninth on the grid with a lap of 1.41.962 while team mate Hiroki Yoshimoto qualified in fifth place with a lap of 1.41.819.
In the first race Hiroki Yoshimoto stormed to a fifth place finish and four more points for the Qi-Meritus.Mahara while Luca Filippi suffered from a bad start and a clutch problem, dropping to the back of the field but carving his way back up to thirteenth.
Luca Filippi commented, "With the team, we have done a good job to prepare for the last two races. In the morning I completed fifteen laps and was reasonably satisfied with my second fastest time. The grip was ok and the car felt much better than before. I qualified in ninth place and could have been higher had we not had a problem with the clutch. I had a bad start and dropped from 9th to 21st. Then I had an early pit stop spent the rest of the race fighting my way back up the order and managed to get back to thirteenth."
Hiroki Yoshimoto added, "In qualifying I ended up fifth and the potential was there for a good first race. I had a bad start as unfortunately Kamui Kobayashi stalled on the grid ahead of me and I lost a bit of time avoiding him. Then I adopted the pace necessary to get back in the rhythm and was quickly back in ninth. We opted for an early pit stop on lap 4 and rejoined in 15th. I fought my way back up the order and kept pushing hard and eventually finished fifth. I'm happy to bring the team four more points and looking forward to being just as competitive in race 2."
Peter Thompson, president and team founder, Qi-Meritus.Mahara concluded, "Two cars in the finish and four additional points is always a good result. Congratulations Hiroki. Unfortunately, Luca Filippi had a bad start. The team used a long gear ratio for the set-up and that caused Luca Filippi the recently appointed Honda Formula One test driver's problem. A shame! But he ran a good race and clocked one of the fastest laps in the second part of his race. Hiroki's four points are a good result and we're looking forward to race 2 and will try to add some more to our season's tally."
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