Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP) and Davide Valsecchi (Durango) both took race wins in the opening round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Asia Series at the challenging Shanghai International Circuit in China. Twenty six drivers from seventeen ...
Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP) and Davide Valsecchi (Durango) both took race wins in the opening round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Asia Series at the challenging Shanghai International Circuit in China.
Twenty six drivers from seventeen countries lined-up for this first round of six, which took place alongside the Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix. This is the second season of the GP2 Asia Series, the winner of which receives the Bridgestone Prize of a cheque for US $50,000.
Pole position for Saturday's feature race was taken by Rodriguez, however at the start of the race he lost the place to Kamui Kobayashi (Dams) and he only regained the lead five laps from the end when Kobayashi made a mistake and had a half-spin at Turn Two. The safety car came out twice in this race, which saw a number of incidents between competitors on track. The race winner pitted on lap 12, changing his rear tyres. Unlike the rest of the field, Kobayashi and his Dams team-mate, opted to change the left hand tyres. Illustrating the durable nature of Bridgestone's hard compound slick GP2 Series tyre, Kobayashi set the race's fastest lap, a 1min 46.407secs, two laps from the finish as he chased Rodriguez. ART Grand Prix driver Sakon Yamamoto (ART Grand Prix) finished third.
Sunday's reverse grid sprint race saw Valsecchi win from pole, after leading for all 23 laps. Earl Bamber (My Team Qi-Meritus Mahara) finished second after overtaking Chris Van der Drift (Trident Racing) on the first lap. Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing) took third position after overtaking Van der Drift on lap 12. Yamamoto set the race's fastest lap, a 1min 47.513secs, on the final lap, however as he didn't finish in the top ten the point went to Villa for his 1min 47.894secs on lap 21.
Leaving Shanghai, Rodriguez leads the drivers' championship on 13 points from Villa on 10. Kobayashi is in third on 9 points. Piquet GP leads the teams' championship with 13 points from Dams on 11. Super Nova Racing is third on 10 points. The next round of the GP2 Asia Series takes place at the Dubai Autodrome on December 5-6.
Quote from Kentaro Yamamoto - Bridgestone Motorsport GP2 Series Engineer
"This was an exciting start to the second GP2 Asia Series season and on the evidence of this weekend I think we should see good racing at all six rounds. As Shanghai is a severe circuit for tyres we used the hard compound Bridgestone slick and this gave good consistency in both races, with fastest laps set late in both. Pit-stop strategy for many was dictated by the safety car in the feature race and it was interesting that all but two cars changed their rear tyres, and one of the DAMS cars that tried a different approach and changed the left hand tyres finished second. Our hard tyre is very durable, even at a severe circuit like Shanghai and we experienced no issues or difficulties with these tyres. We look forward to going to Dubai where we will see the medium compound in action."