GP2

Valencia: ART Grand Prix race one, two report

The ART Grand Prix team finished second overall in the 2007 GP2 series after putting up a gallant fight all the way to the season finale in Valencia last weekend where they ended up in second place, 31 points behind the winning team, iSport ...

The ART Grand Prix team finished second overall in the 2007 GP2 series after putting up a gallant fight all the way to the season finale in Valencia last weekend where they ended up in second place, 31 points behind the winning team, iSport International. For driver Lucas di Grassi, it was also a case of second place after losing out to Timo Glock in the final two races.

In race one, Luca was forced to retire after starting seventh on the grid that was wet from earlier in the day. Opting to run wet tyres in order to cope with the conditions, he roared into P3 before being pushed off track. Returning in ninth, he lost time as the track dried and he was forced to pit again, this time for slicks, however he hit a wet patch of track and spun off into the gravel.

The final race saw him start 23rd with the knowledge that he had to score five more points than Timo Glock. Unfortunately this failed to materialize despite the fact that he fought all the way to the end, claiming thirteenth place in the process. Eleven points behind Glock, Lucas has been declared GP2 2007 Vice Champion.

Meanwhile, Mikhail Aleshin, who was stepping in for Sebastien Buemi, qualified 22nd for race one and did a superb job to finish in ninth place, one position away from starting on pole for race two. However, problems in the season finale saw him drop down the order to finish in twentieth position.

For the first time in the history of GP2, ART Grand Prix has not been crowned champion. The team congratulates its rivals, Timo Glock and iSport, for their titles and they will work harder than ever over the winter and do its best to regain the crown in 2008.

Frederic Vasseur: We are vice-champions of the two championships which is not a bad result in itself. The team have been competitive all season long but to lose both titles is a real disappointment. At the beginning of the season the aim was to be champion, it will be the same next year. Congratulations to Timo Glock and iSport

Lucas Di Grassi: Race 1: DNF - Race 2: 13th - Championship: 2nd, 77 points

"I could not find a clear lap in qualifying on such a short track and I could do no better than P7. At the beginning of the race I was losing too much time on wet tyres and we had to do something. Therefore we opted to switch to dry tyres. I had no choice but to push to catch up and score the points I needed for the championship and unfortunately I made a mistake. Conditions were tricky, it was impossible to foresee what the weather and track conditions would be like. We had to take some risks, and the gamble did not pay off. I'm disappointed for myself and the team, but congratulations to Timo who deserves his title. I had 1 win and 6 podiums this season; we are vice-champions and all in all that is not too bad."

Mikhail Aleshin: Race 1: 9th - Race 2: 20th - Championship: 25th, 3 points

"It's been a long time since I drove a GP2 car and it was not easy to come back with just a short practice session before qualifying. I could not come to grips with it and ended up P22. But, I had a good race on Saturday and kept on track in the most difficult conditions to take P9. One position higher and I would have been on pole for race2! The day after I could only finish in P20."

-credit: art

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