Mahindra Racing closes 2012 with eyes on the future
The last GP of the year brought a challenging season to a close for the only Indian team in grand prix racing, with both riders retiring from a wet race.
Lead rider Danny Webb, who started from pit lane after fitting a new engine, had fought his way through to 27th place when the chain broke, and his race was over. Replacement rider Miroslav Popov had been pushing for the points in the early stages, running 17th after six laps of the 24-lap race, when he slowed with a loss of power, and was forced into eventual retirement. The team was investigating an electronic problem. It was the last outing for the Mahindra MGP-30 machine, built in Italy. Next year the Indian automotive giant embarks on an exciting new project. Design and development of an all-new machine is already under way in a new base in Switzerland in partnership with experienced engineering company Suter Racing Technology.
As well as strengthening the team with several new appointments, on Friday Mahindra also announced an exciting new rider pairing for 2013. Portuguese teenager Miguel Oliveira (17, from Pragal near Lisbon) will team up with experienced Spaniard Efrén Vázquez (26, from Bilbao) at Mahindra Racing. Starting from second and sixth on the grid respectively, the pair showed why Mahindra had been keen to secure their signatures as they traded second and third places for several laps. Unfortunately, when Vázquez slid off in the tricky conditions he collected his new teammate on the way to the gravel trap.
The race was won by British KTM rider Danny Kent, from his team-mate, new Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese.
DANNY WEBB - DNF
It's disappointing to end a year of hard work for myself and the team with such a small problem as a broken chain. It's not the way I wanted to say goodbye, after all the effort we have made together. I wish Mahindra all the best for the future. They put a lot in, and they deserve success.
MIROSLAV POPOV - DNF
I had hopes of finishing in the points ... I was doing fine in my group and had a good chance of being in the top 15. Then the engine lost power and I dropped back. At least I could show that I and the Mahindra could be competitive in wet conditions.
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
It has been a very difficult season for us, but we have learned a lot over the year. As announced, we have a lot of significant changes for 2013, to the machine and the team. We're looking forward to being back on the grid in Qatar next year with a new look and the promise of better results. Mahindra's commitment to racing is as strong as ever, and we are working hard to succeed.” He added: “We saw today how fast our new riders are. They were able to get to know each other a little better this afternoon, but hopefully that will be the first and last time they end up chatting in the gravel trap!”