An unusually dry weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, on the Bridgestone Potenza medium compound, gave Nicolas Lapierre (DAMS) his second race win of the season and Karun Chandhok (Durango) his first ever win in the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series. The ...
An unusually dry weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, on the Bridgestone Potenza medium compound, gave Nicolas Lapierre (DAMS) his second race win of the season and Karun Chandhok (Durango) his first ever win in the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series. The Ardennes circuit was a challenge for the teams this weekend as set ups had to be adapted to allow for the high demands on the tyres.
In Saturday's 26 lap race, Lapierre dominated and claimed a 4.8-second victory from the front row of the grid after setting pole position in qualifying, his first pole since 2005. Luca Filippi (Super Nova) finished second and Lucas di Grassi (ART) took third. At the start of the race, five cars stalled on the grid, including championship leader Timo Glock (iSport) and fastest driver from Friday practice, Bruno Senna (Arden).
On the opening lap of the feature race, di Grassi made a great start from fourth, passing Senna and Filippi before the first corner to take second place behind Lapierre, with FMS driver Adam Carroll moving up to third. Filippi and Carroll pitted on lap seven, with Lapierre and di Grassi both making their stops a lap later. Lapierre maintained his lead over di Grassi, both drivers coming out ahead of Filippi and Carroll. Di Grassi then lost places to Filippi and Carroll as he experienced understeer on his new set of rear tyres. Carroll's race ended as he spun out on lap 19. Glock claimed a point by setting the fastest lap.
In Sunday's 18 lap sprint race, the reverse grid provided a top three of Ho-Pin Tung (BCN), Karun Chandhok (Durango) and Andy Soucek (DPR). Glock's weekend of misfortune continued as he was taken off by Ricardo Risatti (Trident Racing) on the way to the grid. Soucek took the lead at turn one followed by Chandhok and di Grassi, these positions remaining unchanged until Chandhok dived past Soucek four laps from the end, Chandhok benefiting in the race from a well set up car and good tyre management. Soucek took his first podium, finishing in second, with di Grassi securing four points behind him and Tung in fourth.
Glock still leads the drivers' championship, with 79 points, just two points ahead of Lucas di Grassi (ART) on 77. Filippi remains in third with 58 points. In the teams' championship iSport lead on 109 points, followed by ART on 87 and Super Nova closing the gap, with 77. For the third consecutive year, the final round of the GP2 Series will be the championship decider, with the winner of the GP2 title becoming clear in Valencia on 28-30 September, when teams will run on the medium compound slick tyre for the sixth time this season.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development "For GP2, the Spa circuit was slightly abrasive on the medium compound during Friday practice and qualifying, which meant teams changed the set up of the car accordingly to preserve the rear Bridgestone Potenzas for Saturday's race. As a result, most drivers experienced understeer due to the shift in balance to the fronts as part of the set up change. Grip levels have improved consistently throughout the weekend as the track has been cleaned and rubber laid by Formula One. In Sunday's race Karun maintained his tyres well and had good car balance. The medium compound has performed well for us in Belgium in the end."