Monza, Race 1: Grosjean takes win and title
Romain Grosjean is the first Auto GP champion. The french driver won the title thanks to a great success in today's Race 1 in Monza, ahead of Adrien Tambay and Fabio Onidi.
It was a staggering performance, with Grosjean really showing his ultimate will to win. His start from pole position was far from perfect, and that's why at the first corner he was 3rd, passed by both Onidi and Tambay. Anyway, things were looking even worse for his main rival Piscopo, who was well out of the points. Grosjean could go the easy way, opting for a podium finish that would have been enough to win the championship, but his choice was different. He boasted the usual amazing pace and after the pit-stops he was already second. Then in two laps he was on Tambay's tail and the battle started: on lap 12 Grosjean tried in Parabolica first, then in the following braking at Prima Variante and again at Roggia. Each time Tambay was able to take the defensive inside line and outbrake the DAMS rival, but it was clear that Grosjean was quicker. On the downhill after Lesmo Romain took the inside, and then he passed at Ascari, flying away to take the win and also the fastest lap of the race.
Tambay, despite a perfect start and a good first part of the race, had to settle for P2, ahead of a very quick Onidi. The Italian was among the victory contenders until the pit-stop: then a problem with the left rear tyre meant losing some precious seconds, and from P2 he was third with a 7" gap to the leader. Anyway he managed to clinch the fourth 3rd place of the season.
Immediately behind the podium was Duncan Tappy: the brit started from front row but he went out a bit in the Prima Variante braking zone, and had to let the others pass. Fourth for the whole race, he had Federico Leo in the mirrors: the Italian had a great fight with Alexander Sims that he won thanks a really great job by the Trident mechanics in the pit-stop. Sims can be happy anyway, because despite starting from P12 he was seventh until the mandatory tyre change. In the end he was 9th, just behind Julian Leal: the Colombian driver had a great duel with Davide Valsecchi in the first laps, and he will start from pole in tomorrow's thanks to today's P8 finish, behind Jan Charouz and Luca Filippi.
The other title contender, Edoardo Piscopo, lost all his chances with a bad start; then the Italian driver opted for an early pit-stop but his recovery stopped in 10th place. Bad start also for Giorgio Pantano, 12th with the Ombra Racing car.
Romain Grosjean: "I'm really happy, winning both the championship and the race is a great feeling and it's the best way to say thank you to DAMS for the great chance they gave me. The race wasn't easy because the track lacked grip, and I noticed that right from the start. Tambay was quicker than me off the line and Onidi was quicker as well, but I knew that my car was good so I pushed as much as I could. When I reached Adrien it was clear that while my car was improving lap after lap his tyres were in really bad shape. It was a good fight, hard but fair, and this makes this victory feel even better".
Adrien Tambay: "Winning would have been better, but it was a good race. I had a good start and my tyres were new, so my pace was good even without taking risks. Also my in lap before the pit-stop was great, but the gap I managed to build wasn't enough. Grosjean got me quickly and on lap 10 my tyres were already gone, so there was nothing I could do".
Fabio Onidi: "I'm a bit frustrated because before the pit-stop I was second and I'm sure I had the pace to fight for a win, but in the pit-stop we had a problem and I lost too much time. After that I raced just for 3rd place, which is anyway very good in my home race".