GP2

Istanbul: ART Grand Prix weekend summary

2008 ART Grand Prix are now second in the 2008 GP2 series championship after rookie racer Romain Grosjean secured two podium finishes in last weekend's Turkish round held at the Istanbul Park Otodrom. The Frenchman, who started, fourth on the...

2008 ART Grand Prix are now second in the 2008 GP2 series championship after rookie racer Romain Grosjean secured two podium finishes in last weekend's Turkish round held at the Istanbul Park Otodrom. The Frenchman, who started, fourth on the grid in race one, charged through the field to take a strong second place behind race winner Giorgio Pantano while in race two, nothing short of victory would satisfy the ART racer. A brilliant race from seventh on the grid netted the desired result, his first win in the European series after storming to P2 off the start and defending his position on an unknown circuit against the experienced and faster Andreas Zuber.

Meanwhile, teammate Luca Filippi had a weekend to forget and could only muster 16th and 14th placed finishes. Starting from eighteenth on the grid due to issues in qualifying, he was facing an uphill battle from the start but despite setting similar times to the leaders, starting from so far down made things hard.

Luca Filippi

Race 1 Position on grid: 18th
Result: 16th

Race 2 Position on grid: 16
Result: 14th

Position in the championship: 0 point

"We did not have a good start with some problems in qualifying that prevented me from setting a time on my second set of tyres. All the others improved by one second and I was stuck with my first lap and fell down on the starting grid. In race 1, a manoeuvre triggered the engine's safety mode. In race 2 my start was much better and I was running P10 at the end of the first lap. We had what it takes to score some points, but unfortunately I flat spotted a tyre overtaking Nunes. From then on I had vibrations and I made several mistakes. It is a shame because my rhythm was very good this weekend, the same as Pantano and Zuber in race 1 for instance. Congratulations to Romain for his splendid win. ART Grand Prix is working really well and I hope my dream start to the championship will come in Monaco, a track that I like and where I was fast last year."

Romain Grosjean

Race 1 Position on grid: 4th
Result: 2nd

Race 2 Position on grid: 7th
Result: Winner

Position in championship: 2nd, 19 points

"I had to learn the Istanbul Park circuit but qualifying went rather well even though a yellow flag did not help me fight for the first row. The hardest part of the job was over when I made a great start. I then raced in defensive mode as Zuber was obviously faster than me. I had to stay focused and not even make the smallest mistake as that's all it would have taken for Zuber to get past me. The team performed a great pit stop and I could leave the pits ahead of him. Race 2 was really nice. I had a fantastic start which allowed me to gain several positions and the feeling was great inside the car because we fixed the small set-up problems we had in race 1 and I knew I was faster than the guys in front of me. The results of this weekend are very good for the team, it is a nice reward but we have to keep pushing and to start the weekend as high as we end them."

Frederic Vasseur

"Romain's weekend was nearly perfect which is all the more enjoyable as the Istanbul track is not the easiest. He improved a lot between practice and race 2 to finish on a high, his first win in the GP2 main series. This is a great achievement and all in all the review of the weekend is extremely positive. Romain was able to defend his place when needed and to push hard and overtake on Sunday. Luca had another difficult weekend and it's a shame as pace wise he was sometimes on par with the very best but our competitiveness should help him to put all the pieces together soon and to secure the results he and the team deserve."

-credit: art gp

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