DAMS - Jerome d'Ambrosio (2nd) Kamui Kobayashi (6th)
Sunday's short race was the second in the 8th round of the 2008 GP2 Series Championship held on the Valencia circuit as a curtain raiser to the European F1 Grand Prix. DAMS drivers, Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Kamui Kobayashi had very different races. Jérôme was in 4th place on the grid after finishing 5th yesterday. He fluffed his start and found himself in 7th position early on. But he did not make any mistakes while those in front of him went off one after another, and he crossed the line in 3rd place. He then gained another position after the second-placed driver was penalised. It was his first rostrum finish in the GP2 Series and he added 5 more points to his tally bringing his total to 12. Kamui made an awesome comeback from 25th on the grid to 7th and also moved up a place due to the penalty scoring the point for sixth.
Today, DAMS is in 9th place in the teams' ratings with 22 points. Next round in 2 weeks on the daunting Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Eric Boullier, team manager: "It's been a good day for DAMS thanks to Jérôme's rostrum finish. It's a great reward for the whole team and all the work they've done over the past few weeks. Hats off to Kamui who made a fantastic comeback and was rewarded with the point that goes with 6th place. This weekend's result shows that when we start race one at the front of the grid everything's easier and we've scored points in both rounds. What we've achieved here with our cars, we'll be putting all our efforts into repeating in the next two races on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit."
Jérôme d'Ambrosio: "My start wasn't as good as I'd hoped and I lost several places. Nonetheless, I was very quick and my consistency paid off and I gradually worked my way up the classification. I've got onto the rostrum at last and I've managed to confirm the progress we've made over the last few races. In two weeks we'll be at Spa -Francorchamps and I'll be out to achieve good performances and shine in front of my home crowd."
Kamui Kobayashi: "It was sure that starting from so far back it was impossible to score points, but I pushed like crazy and my rivals made a lot of mistakes. Finally, I managed to score one point starting from second-last place; it's a good result and shows that if I'd qualified higher I would have been among the front-runners this weekend."
Racing Engineering - Giorgio Pantano (3rd) Javier Villa (5th)
It was a great result today for Racing Engineering in the GP2 Series Sprint Race at Valencia as both Giorgio Pantano and Javier Villa were able to score points in spite of their low starting positions, the Italian finishing third and the Spaniard fifth. Giorgio's third place allows to the driver from the Spanish team to increase his advantage at the head of the Championship standings.
The shorter race of the GP2 Series weekend on the spectacular Valencia Street Circuit was not an easy prospect for Racing Engineering, yesterday's bad luck meant that today Pantano had to start from the middle of the field, in 14th position, whilst Javi was even further behind, in 21st position. Nevertheless, from the opening meters, both of the drivers from the Spanish team showed their intentions of not giving up and, after a fantastic get away, at the end of the first lap they had recovered a significant number of places: Giorgio was eighth, having already made up six positions and Javi was running in an incredible 12th place, after gaining no less than nine positions.
One more lap and both Giorgio and Javi improved by another position when Maldonado went off at the end of the straight, so within just two laps Pantano was already about to enter the points scoring zone, running seventh behind the Belgian D'Ambrosio, while Javi was looking for a place in the top ten, sitting in 11th and putting pressure on the driver ahead, the Indian Chandhok. The Spaniard needed only three laps to pass his rival, getting 10th position and immediately beginning to close on the ninth placed driver, the Russian Petrov.
On the seventh lap, the duel for third position between Andy Soucek and Bruno Senna was resolving at one stroke with both out of the race: the Spaniard because of mechanical problems and the Brazilian spinning and hitting the wall. This meant that Pantano moved up to fifth and Villa to eighth. In addition, with his main rival in the championship out of the race, the situation was looking good for Giorgio, who already was now in a points scoring position.
The race situation was then Filippi, Grosjean Di Grassi at the front, followed after a few seconds by the second group with D'Ambrosio ahead and which included two Repsol and Telefónica backed Dallaras. When Filippi made contact with Grosjean, the Frenchman was out of the race so Giorgio and Javi were promoting one more position, now being fourth and seventh respectively on lap 11. Villa was already on the verge of the point scoring positions and soon he was entering it after overtaking Petrov on lap 12, so the two Spanish team drivers were fourth and sixth at the half race distance, positions that had seemed impossible to reach at beginning of the race. At this moment, the Safety Car was deployed when Asmer's car spun in the middle of the track, so the whole field had got close up ahead of the remaining laps before the finish.
After the Safety Car pulled in, an exciting phase of the race began for Javi Villa, strongly pressed by Petrov, the Spaniard cut one of the chicanes and had to give way to his rival. Chandhok tried to take advantage and pass both but the Indian hit the Russian, with Javi seizing the opportunity to recover the sixth position and defend it strongly against the assault from Valsecchi on the inside of the next corner.