Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Series Report Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) and Sebastien Buemi (Trust Team Arden) both took race wins in the fourth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series at the tricky and technical Magny Cours race...
Bridgestone Motorsport's GP2 Series Report
Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) and Sebastien Buemi (Trust Team Arden) both took race wins in the fourth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series at the tricky and technical Magny Cours race circuit in France. Hot weather on Saturday, followed by rain on Sunday gave the wet specification Bridgestone GP2 tyre its first race outing in this year's European GP2 Series.
Italian driver Pantano scored maximum points in Saturday's feature race taking a race win and an extra point for the fastest lap. Trust Team Arden claimed a one-two finish in Sunday's sprint race as Buemi took his first ever GP2 race win after starting from 21st on the grid and overtaking teammate Yelmer Buurman.
Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza GP2 racing slick was also used for the first time this season. The technical nature of the track layout and rain on Sunday before the race meant competitors were challenged to maximise tyre performance, and had to be strategic with their tyre choice for the sprint race.
In Saturday's 41 lap race, Pantano started well passing Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) and following pole sitter Bruno Senna (iSport International) into the first corner. Senna and Pantano changed rear tyres on the same lap, lap 18, Senna coming out of the pits ahead of Grosjean with Pantano behind the Frenchman. A clutch failure for Senna and a hydraulics failure for Grosjean left Pantano ahead with a clear lead over Lucas di Grassi (Campos), finishing 8.6 seconds in front of the Brazilian driver. Pastor Maldonado (Piquet Sports) crossed the line in third for his second podium of the season. Bridgestone's medium compound showed low wear and performed well in the heat.
For Sunday's 28 lap sprint race, eleven drivers started on slicks, with the rest of field on wets. Mike Conway (Trident Racing) kept his position at the front during the start, with Jerome D'Ambrosio (DAMS) and Vitaly Petrov (Campos) moving ahead of Karun Chandhok (iSport International). All of these drivers started on wets, dropping back after changing to slicks. Buemi overtook Buurman on lap 21 to win, Buurman finishing second with Luca Filippi (ART Grand Prix) in third, the top three finishers all starting on slicks. Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS) took the point for the fastest lap.
Leaving Magny Cours, Pantano leads the drivers' championship on 35 points ahead of Senna on 28. Buemi is in third position on 20 points. iSport International leads the teams' championship with 41 points from Racing Engineering on 38. Piquet Sports are in third place on 35. The next round of the GP2 Series will be at Silverstone where Bridgestone's medium compound GP2 Series tyre will once more be used.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"Bridgestone's GP2 medium compound performed well for the duration of race one on Saturday, in the hot conditions. Congratulations to Pantano on his second win of the season. He managed to survive the race whereas front runners Senna and Grosjean experienced mechanical problems. For the feature race the tyres showed low wear, consistent degradation and good appearance following the session. Congratulations also to Sebastien Buemi on his first GP2 race win. He was patient at the beginning of the sprint race and this served him well. Sunday's race was the first wet race where we have used the GP2 tyres made in Rome and the wet track was difficult for teams and drivers."