Lotus GP gets a win and a second at Valenica

While the sun shone off track, action and chaos prevailed on it and Lotus GP handled both.

Race winner Esteban Gutierrez
Race winner Esteban Gutierrez

Photo by: xpb.cc

Lotus GP added another win and second place to their 2012 GP2 Championship stats with Mexican racer Esteban Gutierrez securing victory in the feature race at the Valencia street circuit in Spain this weekend and teammate James Calado finishing second in the sprint race. Round six was help under hot and sunny conditions, however while the sun shone off track, action and chaos prevailed on track. Starting fifth on the grid after a penalty, Gutierrez persevered through three safety cars to secure his first feature race victory. The extreme heat took its toll on everyone with one after the other being affected in some way.

While battling for second place, the Mexican driver had an incident with van der Garde at the hairpin, causing both to run wide and lose places. The chaos continued, in the pit lane and on the circuit but Gutierrez kept his head, however at the restart he attempted to make a move on Leimer just before the start/finish line, they touched, ran wide, but thankfully resumed his race with no damage done. With chaos continuing behind him, Gutierrez finally took first place from his teammate to secure the win. Unfortunately, a trip into the barriers saw his second race of the weekend come to a very premature end.

Meanwhile, teammate James Calado, was on course for the victory but was forced to give it away in the final laps. After securing a brilliant pole position and driving a brilliantly controlled race, leading the event almost from start to finish, he was forced to pit under the final safety car and hand the win to his teammate. Due to driver penalties from race one, James was promoted to eighth and pole position for the second race. Once again he led almost all the way, only to have the victory snatched away once again in the final laps due to his tyres degrading, leaving him to finish a close second. James is now third in the championship with 95 points while Esteban sits in sixth with 87. Lotus GP is leading the team?s championship with 182 points.

Esteban Gutierrez: After a couple of tough races, my main goal was to get back the feeling I had in the car this winter and to fight for pole was a little win in itself. I respected the steward decisions to hand me a grid penalty. P5 was not so bad and I had a good start from the clean side of the track. I tried to enjoy myself, the car, the work with the team and the race. I gave it my all and overtook some guys with a bit of a risk but sometimes you just have to go for it if you want to win. I feel sorry for James because he deserved to win but it's a great momentum for me personally and for the team too. We have to use this positive energy to fight at the front for the next races.

James Calado: Pole position was great but a bit unexpected as most of the drivers set their fastest laps with the harder compound. I think it's fair to say that I dominated the weekend from qualifying up to the safety car. It destroyed a 16 or something second gap I opened up and there was not one but three safety cars and I still had to make my compulsory pit stop. We lost a well-deserved win but that?s racing. Afterwards the good news was that I was promoted to pole position in the second race. On Sunday, I led most of the race but ran out of tyres at the end. Haryanto and I came side by side and I gave him enough room but he locked his brakes and crashed into me.

Fortunately I could go on and this podium is a decent recovery after the disappointment of the first race. Frederic Vasseur: On one hand there's the satisfaction of a win and a podium, on the other the frustration for James as he got unlucky. We were much faster than the others and it was good to keep him on track to widen the gap, but the safety car ruined his race because it entered the track when he was in the last corner before making his pit stop. He did great with what was not the best set of tyres on Sunday and his podium is well deserved. Esteban fought hard and well, he was extremely fast and for once he was a bit lucky on Saturday. Bad luck was back on Sunday when he could do nothing to avoid a car that had just crashed into the wall ahead of him.

Source: Lotus GP

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About this article
Series GP2
Article type Race report
Tags calado, gutierrez, lotus, valenica

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