ART Grand Prix started the new GP2 Asia series with two victories, a pole position and a fastest race lap, all thanks to Romain Grosjean. For the inaugural weekend of this new championship, ART GP fulfilled its goal to help its two new drivers ...
ART Grand Prix started the new GP2 Asia series with two victories, a pole position and a fastest race lap, all thanks to Romain Grosjean. For the inaugural weekend of this new championship, ART GP fulfilled its goal to help its two new drivers acclimatize themselves to the discipline and what together they will experience for the rest of the 2008 season.
The four rounds of free tests offered a good technical basis for the entire team to capitalize on their performances and start the race weekend with confidence as well as having a powerful package at their disposal. The confirmation of the team's competitiveness came with Romain's pole position, then his two victories. Now, sitting on 19 points, Romain and ART GP have taken the lead of both driver and team championships.
Qualifying: Pole Position
"We found a good rhythm straight away in free practice and this only got better with each session, which was very good! I succeeded in securing pole position on my final run, it was busy after the red flag, but we did it! My first race was an experiment for my first season in GP2 because it allowed me to learn the start procedures with the Dallara, the pit stops and how to manage a longer race. My engineer taught me the best way to get off the line at the start and all went perfectly in that aspect. The pit stop was not as simple as that because it is necessary to be very precise, but we didn't have to take any risks and this key stage of the race went very effectively. After coming out of the pits I just had to make the best use of the 14 second lead we had in order to secure this first victory which was an immense pleasure for me and for the entire team. I didn't have any pressure the next day. On one hand it was because I am here to learn, on the other, because I had already shown the previous day that I could win on my first appearance in a round of the GP2 series. I was in 5th position at the first turn, and once again everything went the right way I passed several competitors to take the head of the race. I made a point of recording the fastest lap of the race, which had escaped me the day before. This weekend went extremely well. It was ideal training for the GP2 series, which now gives me added confidence with the entire team. It is necessary to continue with this momentum."
"The first race we started in nineteenth after a rather disappointing qualifying, but managed to get quite a good start, made up two places, and managed to lead the race for three laps before going in for my pit stop. I needed to concentrate on my in-laps. After my pit stop, I lost a couple of places by not being aggressive enough, and needing to know the car better. I ended the race in P15, but it's better than where we started, and was a good experience, and was about ten minutes longer than any race I've ever done before. The second race we started in fifteenth, obviously, the place we finished yesterday, and again we made up a lot, and made it up to third by the end of the first lap, which was good, taking advantage of a lot of people's mistakes, and there was a bit of an accident which resulted in the safety car being deployed, and we spent a couple of laps behind the safety car. I had quite a problem with braking, it didn't help when the tyres were cold. We dropped down to P12 but P12 was better than we were yesterday! As long as the team keeps on improving, that's the main thing. The cars been mechanically reliable all weekend, and everything's been really good."
"We came here to learn as Romain and Stephen are two novices in the GP2 Series. Our objective was to familiarize them with all the new parameters they will have to deal with in the GP2 Series, such as pit stops and neutralizations under the safety car. We won twice and we can only be satisfied with this. This result now enables us to approach the next round with confidence, however it will be another new challenge as we will only have 30 minutes of free practice and not four sessions as in Dubai. Romain had two perfect races and must use this weekend to build the future. Stephen encountered some technical difficulties with the balance of his car and brakes over the two days, which only complicated his weekend."