Romain Grosjean and DAMS on pole in Abu Dhabi!
The French team has got its 2011 season off to a flying start thanks to Romain Grosjean's pole position on the Yas Marina circuit.
The second pre-season test session ended on a low note for DAMS as Grosjean got caught up in a collision. His car was badly damaged, and left the team with a huge workload to put it back into running order. It was a race against the clock as the mechanics had only two days to do the job. Grosjean gave them a great reward for their pains!
Today, after a fairly hesitant start to free practice, the engineers found the right setup tweak halfway through the session. From then on, Grosjean was always among the front-runners and he finished practice in fourth place (1m 37.570s). Pal Varhaug continued his apprenticeship setting the twenty-third time (1m 38.570s).
The year's first qualifying session went off like a dream for Grosjean and DAMS. He dominated right from the start and his pole lap was 4/10s quicker than his closest rival, Frenchman Jules Bianchi. Pal finished twenty-fourth, only a second off the second-fastest time.
Loпc Duval, General Manager: "It's a tremendous satisfaction for the whole team, especially after the huge repair job carried out between the end of the tests and the first free session. We were able to find a good setup, which Romain exploited to the full in qualifying. We're very proud to have scored pole for the first race of the season, in particular with the new GP2 car."
Romain Grosjean: P1 (1m 36.041s)
"A huge bravo and thanks to all the mechanics and engineers. They've been quite simply fantastic! I felt in the groove immediately in qualifying and the pole followed naturally. I'd like to dedicate it to everybody in the team, and also to Robert Kubica. Now I just have to confirm it in the race, and I'm feeling pretty confident."
Pal Varhaug: P24 (1m 37.832s)
"Learning the ropes in GP2 really isn't easy. I've got to improve my understanding of the tyres. I'm not happy with my grid position, but the gaps are very small and I'm not that far off the quickest. I'll try and move up during the race."
First race tomorrow Friday 11th, and second one on Saturday 12th February.