Romain Grosjean dashes to Imola victory
Dams driver takes lights to flag win in final 2011 GP2 Asia Series Feature Race
Romain Grosjean dominated today's feature race at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. A strong start from pole position and a flawless drive made the Dams driver cross the finish line with a 14.3s gap to closest rival Giedo van der Garde.
At the start, Grosjean held on to his lead, keeping van der Garde at bay. The Barwa Addax racer who had a great start from fifth on the grid charged to P2 passing Jules Bianchi, Michael Herck and Sam Bird along the way. The Brit's poor getaway saw him fall from second to eighth position. His race then went from bad to worse: as he was fighting his way back, he got into a heated battle between his teammate Marcus Ericsson, Bianchi and both Arden cars. In the midst of the fight, Ericsson edged onto the grass and collided with Bird on his way back onto the track, sending the Brit to an early retirement.
In front, Grosjean started to pull away from van der Garde and Herck - both men unable to match the Frenchman's pace. Behind the leaders, Bianchi recovered from a poor start that saw him drop to fifth in-between Josef Kral and Jolyon Palmer. Kral eventually gave way and came back to the pits with a puncture while Palmer damaged his front wing when he clipped Bianchi in the early laps. With a better pit stop strategy, Bianchi passed Herck for P3, and although on the pace, he could not close the gap enough with van der Garde and had to settle for the bottom step of the podium today.
Further down the field, Stefano Coletti at Trident made another impressive comeback from sixteenth on the grid. In sixth place, the Monegasque driver benefitted from Davide Valsecchi's small mistake: the Team AirAsia driver went a bit too wide, allowing Coletti to take advantage and snatch fifth. Valsecchi finished sixth ahead of Rapax's Fabio Leimer and Dani Clos. The Racing Engineering Spaniard who drove a solid race from twenty on the grid will start from tomorrow's provisional pole.
Romain Grosjean whose so far perfect weekend has netted him twelve more points is now leading the Series, five points ahead of Bianchi. Should he finish ahead of his countryman tomorrow, the Dams ace could be crowned GP2 Asia Series Champion...for the second time!
Imola - Feature Race
1. Romain Grosjean Dams
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team
3. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART
4. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni
5. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing
6. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia
7. Fabio Leimer Rapax
8. Dani Clos Racing Engineering
9. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing
10. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing
11. Marcus Ericsson iSport International
12. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART
13. Josef Kral Arden International
14. Pal Varhaug Dams
15. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology
16. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing
17. Julian Leal Rapax
18. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology
19. Jolyon Palmer Arden International
20. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin
21. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team
22. Max Chilton Carlin
23. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni
Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering
Sam Bird iSport International
Luiz Razia Team AirAsia
Fastest laptime : Romain Grosjean (Dams) - 1 :28.097 on lap 32
-source: gp2 asia