The penultimate round of the 2008 GP2 championship saw the ART Grand Prix team record another victory, courtesy of Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman the victor of the first rain affected race at the Spa Francorchamps...
The penultimate round of the 2008 GP2 championship saw the ART Grand Prix team record another victory, courtesy of Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman the victor of the first rain affected race at the Spa Francorchamps circuit as well as securing the fastest race lap. Race two was held in changeable conditions and after starting eighth on the grid, Romain made a good start, but was forced to go wide at the hairpin. He was soon in the points but after a tough fight with Sebastien Buemi he put a wheel on the wet white line and spun, eventually crossing the line in tenth place.
Meanwhile, teammate Sakon Yamamoto suffered in the wet conditions for qualifying as he attempted to learn his way around on a wet track making good progress despite an accident which forced him to start race one from 23rd on the grid. Despite a trip through the gravel, he made his way to 18th, recording the fastest lap in the wet, but unfortunately, being that far back for race two saw him involved in first lap contact that ended his day. Currently equal third in the championship behind Pantano and Senna, Romain can still mathematically be crowned champion in Italy next weekend even though closing the gap of 18 points with only 19 on offer will depend on more than just his and the team's performance.
Sakon Yamamoto "I was confident after the practice session on this circuit that I love but the rain came just before the qualifying session started and we suddenly had to change to rain tyres. It was the first time I had run on a wet track in this car and I was cautious at first. Once I got to grips I started to push, but it was a bit too much as I crashed in turn 8. In race 1, a car spun right in front of me and I had no choice but to go through the entire gravel trap. After that my aim was to finish the race in order to be not too far back on the starting grid of the second race. The positive aspect is that I was the fastest on rain tyres. I had a good start in race 2 but it was difficult to avoid all the cars at the hairpin. I had contact with another car and my race was over. Heading to Monza, I am confident because I know the team will give me a well balanced car. It will be up to me to make the best use of it and not to push too hard. I would really like to reward the team with some points!"
Position on grid: 23rd
Position on grid: 18th
Position in the championship: 0 point
Romain Grosjean "A win at last, it feels really good after all the races we should have won this season! Yet, all was not that great at the beginning of the weekend as I was not happy with my drive after the practice session. We worked on the data with my engineer and came to the conclusion we needed to remove some downforce. It was much better after that, especially in sector 1 and 3. But another complication waited for us in qualifying with mixed conditions and a bunch of yellow and red flags. I think the pole position was within our grasp but I lost a lot of time by slowing too much in a corner under yellows. Anyway, the 3rd spot on the starting grid was good. My pace was inconsistent in race 1 because I was faster under the rain and I lost 2 positions when I did not chose the right time to change my tyres. But after the safety car came in I was P3 virtually and I had saved my tyres. I could push hard and I overtook Zuber as the soon as we arrived at Les Combes. A few laps later Parente made his only mistake of the race and I seized the opportunity to take the lead and keep it. The day after, I stayed calm despite a restless start where Maldonado forced me to go wide. I was pushing without giving my best when I put a wheel onto the white paint. I immediately lost the rear. The overtaking manoeuvre on Buemi in Blanchimont? It was fun, I love to try new things! In Monza my aim will be to win the first race of the finale and to end the season on a high in order to reward the team for its excellent work."
Position on grid: 3rd
Position on grid: 8th
Position in the championship: 3rd , 53 points
Frederic Vasseur "It feels great! We missed 4 wins this season but Romain worked hard to secure this one even though it was not that well engaged in the first place. It is a very good operation for the championship because we can aim for the 2nd place and even the 1st one with special circumstances. Nothing's over, it is a positive momentum we'll have to use in Monza."