Perfect Petrov leads Campos 1-2 in Valencia
Vitaly Petrov has taken his first GP2 Series victory in today's race at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, leading home his team-mate Giorgio Pantano to record a famous result for Campos Grand Prix on home soil. The duo overcame the inclement weather at the track to beat poleman Kazuki Nakajima into third position.
Race Report: A rain shower shortly before the start of the race caught everyone unawares. As championship leader Timo Glock looked to the sky and pondered how many more twists this season could take before its end, the GP2 Series teams were hastily choosing whether to go out on wet or dry tyres, with the majority opting for the safer option.
As the lights went out, Vitaly made an astonishing start from eighth to sit second at the first corner, as Kazuki kept first position from pole. From out of nowhere however popped Roldan Rodriguez in the lead to Nakajima's surprise. Roldan had got a bit lost and somehow cut out half the circuit, but despite letting almost everybody back past him, he was soon handed a drive-through penalty.
The opening laps were as confusing as they were enthralling, with the order changing corner by corner as drivers slipped and skidded on the wet track. Incredibly, on the third lap, both Luca Filippi and Lucas di Grassi pitted for slick tyres. It was a bold move, and ultimately was to prove their undoing as moments later it started to rain again. Nevertheless they both held on.
Up at the sharp end, Giorgio moved into third position with a great move on Kohei Hirate, as behind them Marcos Martinez had made a blistering start to his race to sit fifth with Timo Glock eighth. At the front however, Kazuki was finding it tough to lap Mikhail Aleshin's ART car and on lap 7 Vitaly and Giorgio took their chances and passed the Japanese driver. And then came a potentially championship deciding moment as Lucas di Grassi, on slick tyres, hit a damp patch of the track and spun into the gravel. Bogged down in the sand, his race was over.
As the race wore on the track started to dry and the leaders opted to change onto slicks. They emerged in the order they had entered the pits, with Vitaly still leading Giorgio, Kazuki, Marcos (who had risen to fourth after Kohei had spun out) and Luca. But Luca's car was ailing, and he started to lose time - almost four seconds a lap. He was passed first by Borja Garcia, then Andy Soucek and finally Timo Glock. Luca was eighth when he spun out at the final corner, and watched helplessly as Giorgio drew to within one point of him and third in the championship.
And so it ended with Vitaly deliriously happy to take his first win on his team's home circuit. Giorgio completed a perfect day for Campos in second with Kazuki third, Marcos fourth, Borja fifth, Andy sixth, Timo seventh and Javier Villa eighth. Fastest lap went to Karun Chandhok.
1st Vitaly Petrov: Campos Grand Prix. 1:05:20.497
The start was really incredible. I was really lucky, it was incredible the start and I passed a lot of cars. I was really happy, because its the first time I won a race. And I was really happy because my team was happy. My team won this and I give it to them.
2nd Giorgio Pantano: Campos Grand Prix. +2.495
We did a very good job this year. We are on the last race now and also Vitaly has won with Campos. I think we both did a very good job for them and the team now is coming up on the top and the question is we both improve and we did a good job for them.
3rd Kazuki Nakajima : Dams. +2.541
Because of traffic I lost my place and it was a shame, but I'm happy to be back on the podium again in the last event and I think the team did a good job. It's a shame to miss the win but we showed the pace in qualifying and it's good to survive such a crazy race.
-credit: gp2 series