Brazilian racer Lucas Di Grassi claimed his maiden GP series victory today in the first race of the weekend held in the "Istanbul Otodrom" of Turkey, the scene of the eighth round of the season.
"If we have a good pace for sure we can overtake and we can go to the front and fight for a win, for a podium, and for the lead in the championship", stated Di Grassi yesterday after qualifying on sixth spot for today's competition.
Surely the ART Grand Prix driver knew what he was talking about and did a superb job on Saturday to claim a key victory in his championship aim in GP2 series.
"I think the race win came in the right moment. Its awesome to get the championship lead by winning the race, also a feature race, a Saturday race which is long. It was a very long race for me", commented the new points leader.
The Brazilian's win was set up by his usual demon start and a good pit stop by his ART mechanics under the safety car, and then later a mistake by Andi Zuber aided his cause. The lead cycled back to Di Grassi when the all of the pit stops shook out.
"When you pit in the beginning the race feels very long. We were very concerned about the tyre wear because we had problems in the past but the car felt really good and I could manage to keep a good gap from Adam and Giorgio and I am very happy, very satisfied with the win", Di Grassi added.
As Di Grassi anticipated, his pursuers in the race were Giorgio Pantano and Adam Carroll, second and third once the nearly hour long race finished in Istanbul.
Pantano managed to complete a great performance that allowed him to notched second position and another podium in his GP2 campaign.
The Italian was the protagonist, along with Carroll, of a very interesting fight during a the competition which Pantano himself explains: "I was just respecting him because he is my friend, otherwise I would try to overtake him in some not good place. But he was quick until ten or 12 laps to the end, he had some problem with his car I believe, but me I was using only first and third gear - I had a problem with second - and I was allowed to stay close to him to overtake at the end of the straight. Anyway, when I had the opportunity, the safe opportunity - we don't take any risk - I decide to take it and we were done".
A problem in the moment of his pit stop made the Campos Grand Prix driver lose some important time in the race. "We had a problem with right rear wheel, we lose about four or five seconds minimum", Pantano said.
For Carroll, third place means some good points to advance in the standings positions of the series.
The Irish driver wasn't able to keep second position from Pantano as he suffered with the tyre wear in his Dallara of FMS International. "When the safety car came out that was exactly what we didn't plan on: we thought because of the run off area here there wouldn't be a safety car. We would have gone with our usual strategy, which is four tyres not two, but when everybody came in the safe thing to do is to go with two tyres just to make the time up. After that the balance was very, very difficult, so that's al that I can, to push as hard as I could", Carroll mentioned.
"At least my lap times were consistent, if not particularly fast really: I could just about stay with them, and I could see Giorgio was closing, so I just thought don't make any mistakes and he won't be able to pass me, but the tyres were completely finished at the end so there was nothing I could do", he added.
Timo Glock came on fourth place and tomorrow will have the chance to take back the lead in the championship. Karun Chandhok, eighth today, will be able to start from first place Sunday's race, followed by Alex Negrao, Kazuki Nakajima and Borja Garcia.