Posted on: April 08, 2014
This past weekend, Axcil Jefferies made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean and only African to represent the continent in the feeder series to Formula 1, GP2, in Bahrain on the 4th-6th of April.
The first round was always going to be a steep learning curve, but Jefferies went with the right menality of just trying to learn and get as much seat time as possible.
On Friday Axcil reacquainted himself with his 612bhp GP2 car as he worked with the team to try and find the optimum set up for qualifying. The session was run on the Orange set of Pirelli's, the harder compound of the two sets that Pirelli selected for the GP2 openener.
Qualifying unfortunately didn't go to plan, as Jefferies experienced the real GP2 for the first time. In what ended up to be a chaotic session due to a mid way Red Flag, Axcil found all 26 cars on track at the same time. Due to lack of experience Axcil failed to find clear air and make the most out of what was an extremely competitive qualifying session. Axcil ended the session in P25 less than 1.6 seconds away from pole.
Jefferies and the Team Trident, agreed on what was a fairly aggressive strategy for race 1, to try and make up as many possitions as possible to start further up on the grid for race 2. After making a promising start and having a succesful first two laps Axcil was taken out in spectacular fashion by Japanese driver Kimiya Sato. Jefferies hit the barriers at over 270kph, destroying his car and ultimately taking him out of the race. (See below video)
After the misfortune of race 1, ultimately there was one main objective for race 2, to get to the finish. Axcil drove a solid race moving up from 25th to finish 21st in what was his first GP2 race.
"We had a really difficult first weekend in GP2. In race 1 we were really unlucky. Ultimately our aim was to get as much milage as possible and to learn the techniques of saving the tires etc. However through no fault of our own we were taken out of the race just after two laps. What Kimiya did, really should not happen at this level. It cost us a lot! On the positive we got lots of media coverage..Unfortunately for the wrong reason! At least on Sunday we saw the chequered flag!! Sunday was the first time we ran more than four laps in a row, pushing, so it was always going to be jumping into the unknown. I am happy as we gained a lot of valuable experiences, that I am sure will pay off in Barcelona. There were a lot of positives to take from race 2, we had a really good start and made a few good overtakes. So overall I am happy, I know I have a lot to learn, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I would like to thank the whole Trident Team, and especially the mechanics and engineers for getting the car ready after Saturdays a big crash", explained a determined Jefferies.