Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Asia Series Report Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) has clinched a sensational double win this week on Bridgestone's Potenza GP2 Asia racing tyres, taking victory in both races of the inaugural round of the GP2 Asia...
Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Asia Series Report
Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) has clinched a sensational double win this week on Bridgestone's Potenza GP2 Asia racing tyres, taking victory in both races of the inaugural round of the GP2 Asia Series at the Dubai Autodrome.
The Frenchman has clearly got to grips with Bridgestone's slick tyres and after setting the pace in testing earlier in the week and clinching pole position on Friday morning, 0.049 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Bruno Senna (iSport International), Grosjean carried through his consistent form to take the opening race honours in a decisive lights-to-flag victory on the 4.343km International Circuit layout. The 21-year-old led the field away from the grid, pitted to change two rear tyres on lap 17 and was never really challenged. The real battle was happening behind him.
The 42-lap race had a clean start with second and third placed grid starters, Senna and Andy Soucek (DPR), immediately tussling for position. Soucek won out and by the time the front runners had crossed the timing beam after a single lap it was Grosjean from Soucek and Senna, followed closely by Luca Filippi (Qi-Meritus Mahara) and Karun Chandhok (iSport International). Pitstops started as early as lap two for the mid and back of field runners but it was not until laps 15, 16 and 17 respectively that the front runners decided to come in with Senna initiating the sequence followed by Soucek and Grosjean. In the end, it had little effect on the running order and it was not until lap 38 that Brazilian Senna could dive past Soucek for second place after applying pressure lap after lap on the Spaniard.
Adrian Valles (Fisichella Motor Sport International) crossed the line in fourth with the Qi-Meritus Mahara pairing of Filippi and Hiroki Yoshimoto giving their team a great GP2 debut outing with points for fifth and sixth. Chandhok and Fairuz Fauzy (Super Nova Racing) claimed the remaining points and in the process set up an all Asia front row for the start of the reversed grid of race 2.
Saturday's 28-lap sprint race didn't fail to live up to expectations either with plenty of thrills as the drivers diced their way past each other. Their antics brought out a short Safety Car period on lap three, giving the drivers their first experience of the season in dealing with cooling tyres. Some managed to keep the heat in their Bridgestones while others struggled. Pole sitter Fauzy, meanwhile, held the lead until the fast charging Grosjean, who had carved his way up from eighth place on the grid, proved to again be in dominant form and overtook him on lap 15, sealing a second victory. Soucek and Senna both had an eventful race but despite their efforts it was Fauzy and Chandhok who took the chequered flag in second and third places, ahead of Yoshimoto and the Durango pairing of Alberto Valerio and Davide Valsecchi.
Grosjean leads the Drivers' Championship with 19 points, ten ahead of Senna on 9. Fauzy, Chandhok, Soucek and Yoshimoto all tie on six points. In the Teams' Championship ART Grand Prix lead on 19 points followed by iSport International on 15 and Qi-Meritus Mahara on 10. GP2 Asia now heads to Sentul in Indonesia for round two of the series which will also take place in conjunction with the Grand Racing event on 16-17 February, 2008.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development "First of all, congratulations to Romain Grosjean on his victories in what has been a great start to the GP2 Asia Series. For Bridgestone too it has been a good start and we are pleased with the performance of our slicks here. The track surface in Dubai is quite smooth and as temperatures were not as high as expected, this gave the drivers quite a challenge when it came to getting the heat into them, especially in the morning practice and qualifying session. Nevertheless, the hard compound tyre provided a good consistent performance with many of the drivers setting their best individual lap times in the closing stages of the races."