Virgin glad to be off and running

Timo Glock thanked his team for their remarkable efforts, as he recorded the fastest lap of any of the new teams in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying.

The 27-year-old was nineteenth for Virgin in their first ever qualifying session, with team-mate Lucas di Grassi in twenty-second.

Timo Glock (19th): “It’s great to be the best of the new teams here today and I’m very happy with what we have achieved. This is a Team result and a credit to everyone who has worked so hard in really difficult circumstances to get the best out of our first race package. To also be just 2.7 seconds away from teams with many more years of experience is even better. We have a big mountain to climb but we go into our debut race having achieved our first target and I think this will give us the momentum we need to keep on pushing. It just goes to show we are going in the right direction and all we have to do is focus on overcoming the hurdles we were bound to come across along the way. Thanks to everyone at Virgin Racing.”

Lucas di Grassi (22nd): “First of all I’d like to say a big thanks to the team. They have put in so much effort to make this team and today happen for us. For us to be here with a healthy car is fantastic. For me it was still the very beginning, I only did three laps in the session this morning due to the issues we had. I’m quite happy to have done my first qualifying in F1. I know there are a lot of opportunities for us and plenty of scope for improvement.”

Nick Wirth, Technical Director: “For the first time in a while, Timo managed to complete his full planned programme in Free Practice 3 this morning. We had a problem with one of the wheel guns, which meant the left front and rear wheel nuts were not correctly torqued. Unfortunately Timo lost the front wheel, which thankfully didn’t hit anyone and he managed to get the car round without any further damage. We were pretty confident that the car was capable of a mid to low 1min 58s lap in qualifying, but our early runs and tyre choice was affected by the rubber from the previous race, which changed the track conditions early in the session. Nevertheless, he managed to use the slower prime tyre to secure the top qualifying slot for the new teams, which was our target.

“Lucas did a great job in qualifying today given that we had a sequence of overnight problems on his car which resulted in him losing any meaningful running in – not an ideal way to prepare for your Formula 1 qualifying debut. However, he did a solid and professional job under that extra pressure and we’re so happy to give him his deserved debut as an F1 driver.

“All in all a good day and we hope to carry that momentum through to our first race tomorrow and leave Bahrain with smiles on our faces.”

Sir Richard Branson: “Both the car and the team are in their infancy and like all infants some of our first steps may falter. But unlike other teams when things go wrong we won’t be throwing our toys out of the pram, but we’ll pick ourselves up and get right back into the playground! That’s exactly what the team did here in Bahrain today after the setbacks they experienced over the weekend. Not only did we qualify as the fastest of the new teams, we came so close to the more established teams and on a fraction of their budget. This not only shows the technical brilliance of Nick Wirth and his team but true grit!”

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