Motorsports Mondial

GP2 ASIA – ROMAIN RULES IN RACE ONE

Photo. GP2 Series

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari was the home of the popular San Marino Grand Prix. On Saturday it was host to the second and final round of GP2 Asia. The winds of change blowing in the desert Kingdom, and self-proclaimed ‘Home of Motorsports in the Middle East,’ Bahrain forced series organizer Bruno Michel to seek an alternative venue. In the short time that was available a great feat was accomplished in getting cars and equipment back to Europe, and a great location was selected.

Flying high once the cars took the track in practice was the British iSport International driver Sam Bird. Dutchman Giedo van der Garde was second quickest for Barwa Addax Team and Swiss Fabio Leimer was third for Rapax, the Italian championship winning team from last year with Pastor Maldonado.

Surprise of the session were the two race and series favorites, Jules Bianchi and Romain Grosjean.

Bianchi, lead driver for Lotus-ART team, won the opening race of the season in Abu Dhabi and arrived at Imola leading the championship. Grosjean, pole sitter from the Yas Marina circuit and inaugural GP2 Asia Champion, failed to crack in the top ten in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions. So did Bianchi.

Qualifying

The contenders turned up the heat when it was ‘game on.’ Sam Bird continued his pace from test session and looked set to land on pole.

However, on his 15th and final lap, Grosjean grabbed the pole position after setting the track record on the new configuration. His best time was 1:27.067 compared to Bird’s 1:27.384

Scuderia Coloni’s Romanian racer Michael Herck took the inside lane of the grid while Jules Bianchi also bounced back from disappointing practice to qualify fourth.

Russian World Series by Renault Champion from last year Mikhail Aleshin qualified 10th while Sauber F1 team test and reserve driver, Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, qualified 15th.

Photo. GP2 Series

Race One

Romain Grosjean romped away to victory, leading the race from start to finish. The Geneva-based racer with banking as his ‘day job’ also recorded the fastest lap with a time of 1:28.097s on lap 32

In the early laps the DAMS driver thwarted Dutch threat from van der Garde and at the end of the race had a comfortable cushion of 14.3s over the second place Barwa Addax ace. Giedo had a great get away at the start from fifth on the grid.

Sam Bird had a poor start and was later struck by the sister car of his young Swedish teammate Marcus Ericsson forcing Bird out of the race. Ericsson was able to continue and finished 11th.


Photo. GP2 Series

Bianchi’s battle for a podium spot was successful and he finished third, surviving a tap from behind earlier in the race from Jolyon Palmer.

Michael Herck was fourth. Stefano Coletti of Monaco was impressive for Trident Racing and climbed from 16th on the grid to finish 5th.

Team AirAsia pilot Italian Davide Valsecchi was sixth but was later excluded from the results as the car did not pass technical inspection. Not a good day for the new team as sister car of Luiz Razia failed to finish.


Photo. GP2 Series

Valsecchi’s exclusion promoted Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy of Super Nova Racing to 8th, which translates to pole position for Sunday’s reverse grid sprint race.

Fabio Lemier was 7th on the track. Spaniard Dani Clos of Racing Engineering was eighth and will share the front row with Fauzy for race two.

The Championship

Victory and points from pole position has given lead in the championship to Grosjean, 23 to second place man Bianchi with 18 points.

van der Garde is third in the championship hunt on 12 points.

In team standings DAMS, headed by Jean-Paul Driot, leads over Nicolas Todt and Frederic Vasseur owned Lotus-ART. The Arabian Spanish joint venture at Barwa Addax is third.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Rivazza regards.

P.S.


He thought Bahrain Grand Prix was a spitting success.