Gianmaria Bruni returned in the best way he could to the GP2 Series in Spa-Francorchamps. On a rainy day, he took the pole position for tomorrow`s race in his debut weekend with the Durango team. Alongside Bruni in the front row is ART Grand...
Gianmaria Bruni returned in the best way he could to the GP2 Series in Spa-Francorchamps. On a rainy day, he took the pole position for tomorrow`s race in his debut weekend with the Durango team. Alongside Bruni in the front row is ART Grand Prix's Alexander Premat.
The Italian racer was on the Coloni Motorsport until the Monza last week when Toni Vilander took his place in the team.
"I just drove - the car was perfect since this morning, and I wanted to see where we could be so I just took it easy - if you look at the splits from this morning you can see that I was already P2 or P3. In qualifying I took a little bit more risk and the car was perfect, so I showed that with a quick car I can be P1, where I should be", commented a happy Bruni.
For the championship battle however, it was not a good day. Heikki Kovalainen set best fourth while Nico Rosberg just eleventh after he suffered a crash in Eau Rouge that brought the red flags to the session, although with no physical problems for the driver.
This was the first pole position for Bruni in the series, whose top qualifying results were in the first part of the season with front rows in Spain, where he later took his only victory, and Monaco.
Bruni has good memories from Spa, a circuit he obviously enjoy driving in the past and today. "Last year here, in Formula One1, I qualified the best ever for Minardi, ahead of the Jordans, one of the BARs and Toyota, so obviously I like this circuit. I won the first Formula Renault Eurocup in front of (Antonio) Pizzonia, so it's one of my nice circuits", he said.
As it did today, the weather will have an important issue for Saturday's race and Bruni knows it for sure: "I have will see the data for what the forecast is for tomorrow - if it's dry then it's dry for everyone," remarked the Italian. "I'll try my best, like I always do, and if it's wet then I think we are in a good position. I feel confident of a podium, and we'll see if the luck is with us".
After second place in Monaco, the best positions for Bruni in GP2 competition were eighth place in Nurburgring and a seventh in Great Britain. No doubt the former F1 driver wants to change his luck and Spa might be his chance.
It was a journey full of red flags during the session that complicated the work for the drivers in the middle of a constant rain.
Premat managed to put one of the ART Grand Prix cars in top places. Since the French took the pole in Magny-Cours, there's always an ART driver in the front row for the Saturday races. Although it has been Rosberg who was in the top most of the time.
"I really enjoyed it today, because I did the second best time, but it was a really hard session because it was really raining a lot - when you are following another guy you can't see anything on the track or how the corner goes," remarked Premat. "For sure this was the first time for me in GP2 in weather like this, and I think this is a really good circuit to show the talent of the drivers - maybe even more in the wet!"
To drive around the always difficult Spa circuit became even more hard for the GP2 drivers with the water, and Premat explained it: "It was really difficult because the circuit is really long, so sometimes the rain in some sections is worse and it's hard to push at the limit of the car, so it is hard to improve at each corner. We had some difficulties with Eau Rouge, because it is a very fast corner, and very hard, but this is really fun for the drivers!"
Second place meant for Premat his return to the front row since his pole in France. He will try to repeat his good results of Hungary and Turkey, where he claimed victories, and erase the bad weekend of Monza last week which he left with no points.
His ambition for what might happen on Saturday is clear: "I am really confident because the car is perfect - well, not perfect, and we need to work on it tonight, but I am very confident and I think I am in a good position tomorrow - I start in front, and it is much better to start there than third. And in the rain it is a real advantage". Wait and see, Alex.
Top ten places has: Bruni, Premat, Nicolas Lapierre, Kovalainen, Nelson A. Piquet, Scott Speed, Hiroki Yoshimoto, Adam Carroll, Giorgio Pantano and José María López.
The dispute for the GP2 title has Kovalainen with an advantage over Rosberg for tomorrow as the Finn will start from second row and his main rival back on the sixth row. The German seems to know what to do tomorrow when the green lights have gone. "I have everything to win and nothing to lose, so I'll just go for it - I think it will still be good, and I'll give it my all," stated Rosberg. Clear, isn't it?
Kovalainen leads with 99 to 95 so it is Rosberg who needs to get the better result if he wants to arrive to Bahrain with strong chances.