Monza in Italy provided a happy hunting ground for GP2 Series squad MP Motorsport over the weekend, 6th/7th September, with Marco Sorensen securing an excellent double points scoring finish for the Dutch team – a season-best equalling top four result in round 18 on Sunday the highlight.
Team-mate Daniël De Jong bounced back from the disappointment of a lap two retirement in round 17 on Saturday, caused when an errant Kimiya Sato smashed into the side of the MP Motorsport car, to secure a fantastic ninth place finish in the second encounter.
The strong Monza weekend builds on De Jong’s first points finish of 2014 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium a fortnight ago, where he concluded round 15 inside the top 10. Sorensen, meanwhile, missed out on points at Spa but his Monza success takes his tally of scores to seven from 10 races.
“It’s been a really strong weekend for the whole team in Monza, Marco and Daniël both had great pace and we were very close to the podium in race two”, said MP Motorsport team principal Sander Dorsman, “Qualifying wasn’t as good as we wanted, but the race pace was there and both of the guys did a fantastic job.
“Daniël was really unlucky in the first race, [Kimiya] Sato hit him into the first chicane and there was nowhere he could go. It’s a big shame as he was close behind Marco and they’d both had a great first lap. Marco managed to take more points though so we’re happy about that and really looking forward to the next round.”
Lotus F1 Team reserve driver Sorensen started round 17 on Saturday afternoon from 14th position on the grid with De Jong just three spots further back in 17th place. Both of the MP Motorsport drivers made a great start and put together a stunning opening lap to climb into ninth and 10th respectively.
Running strongly and looking very well placed, while Sorensen was able to continue making progress his team-mate was unceremoniously knocked into retirement when Sato produced an ill-judged move on the brakes into the Rettifilio Chicane.
Scheduled to make his mandatory tyre-change pit-stop late in the race, Sorensen pressed on and climbed into the top eight at one third race distance. Staying on track as others began to take their stops, the Dane remained out – in the lead of the race at that point – until the final third and then re-emerged from the pits in seventh place.
Earning him a front-row start for round 18 on Sunday, Sorensen made a fantastic start and was almost in a position to challenge for the lead at the first turn but slotted back in to second place. An unfortunate lock-up on entry to Variante della Roggio, though, meant the MP Motorsport racer slipped to third after running straight on.
Following a five lap Safety Car period, required after a couple of separate tangles in the final sector, Sorensen harried Stephane Richelmi but also had Stefano Coletti applying pressure behind and on lap eight the latter managed to edge past into the top three. Sorensen remained in fourth place for the remainder of the contest though to cap a terrific weekend.
Starting race two from 23rd on the grid was always going to be a major task for De Jong but he rose to the challenge superbly, carving his way through into the top 15 on the opening lap alone. Making continued progress during the second half of the race, he climbed through the order into the top 10 and, post-race was elevated into ninth due to a penalty for a rival.
The penultimate event on the 2014 GP2 Series calendar, a visit to Sochi International Street Circuit in Russia, is scheduled to take place over the weekend 11 th/12th October.