GP2

Istanbul: Round nine preview

Turkey... with all the trimmings The GP2 series will be racing on a brand new track this weekend. The Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul, Turkey, was completed just weeks ago and plays host to its first international motorsport event over the ...

Turkey... with all the trimmings

The GP2 series will be racing on a brand new track this weekend. The Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul, Turkey, was completed just weeks ago and plays host to its first international motorsport event over the course of the next three days. Everyone arrives here somewhat in the dark as to the characteristics of the track, which will only become clear after the first running on Friday. But with the circuit still very dusty, and thunderstorms forecast, the characteristics look set to change from session to session.

What will not change however is the layout of this flowing circuit. Designed by famed F1-track guru Hermann Tilke, Istanbul Park promises to be a major test for all involved in the GP2 series. The 5.338km of asphalt is wide enough to allow its fair share of overtaking, as it sweeps around the hilly Turkish landscape. It has been compared to Spa-Francorchamps and Sepang, but after their track walks this morning, all of our drivers are in agreement that this new circuit will stand by itself as a superb challenge for man and machine. They are all eager to get out on track tomorrow, and put themselves to the test at this new venue.

What about the championship? The GP2 series enters the final third of its inaugural season this weekend, and with just four rounds and eight races to go, there is all to play for. Heikki Kovalainen leads the drivers' championship standings on 79 points, ahead of Nico Rosberg on 72. Scott Speed is still in the hunt for the title in third on 50 points, as are Alex Prémat on 43, Neel Jani on 40, Adam Carroll on 34 and Gimmi Bruni on 33. Indeed, with a maximum haul of 22 points available to a driver per race (a total of 88 points for the remaining races), it is mathematically possible for any one of these drivers to win the championship...

The same can be said of the teams' championship. ART Grand Prix leads the way on 115 points with Arden International second on 92. Super Nova International are third on 62 points, with iSport International on 52, Racing Engineering on 44 and Coloni Motorsport sixth with 36 points.

1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International. "During the last few weeks, I've been spending some time with my fellow RDD colleagues in Biarritz where we had the last training camp of the season. We had a great time working together and it was really stimulating, but to tell you the truth, I cannot wait to get back to racing! As the championship is nearing its conclusion, my motivation is getting even stronger. The team and I have made a lot of improvements on the car and we should be strong this last part of the season. We're expecting to score some new victories and podiums. With four week-ends to go, and some very interesting tracks including Turkey this weekend, the end of the GP2 Series Championship will be all the more exciting. I can hardly wait!"

2nd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. "The last few weeks have been really good. I've been relaxing, taking a holiday, and I am returning for the final four rounds refreshed and confident. I'm not allowing myself to think about the championship just yet... it's too early for that. Basically I'm just going to go out and run my races and hope to get as many points as possible. If we do that we'll stand a good shot. It's not about aiming for Heikki, it's about doing running our races our way. I'll be attacking from the very start, and then at the end, we'll see where we are."

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering , Arden International