Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) and Karun Chandhok (iSport) both took race wins in the sixth round of the Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series at the high speed, technical Hockenheim circuit in Germany.
Pantano has extended his lead over Bruno Senna (iSport) in the drivers standings with his fourth race win of the year. This comes after Romain Grosjean who finished on the top step of the podium in race one was then handed a 25 second penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag, dropping him down to second place. In Sundays race Chandhok was on pole and claimed his second ever GP2 win, his first of the season.
Bridgestones medium compound GP2 racing slick and wet specification tyre were used over the weekend. Due to the nature and layout of the circuit competitors were challenged to find the best car set-up and the sudden rain in race one was on hand to get the teams making quick decisions on tyre choice and pit stops.
At the start of Saturdays 40 lap feature race, Pantano led from pole position, with Grosjean in second. With just four laps to go unexpected rain gave Grosjean the chance to pass Pantano allowing the Frenchman to finish first, only to have the victory taken away from him due to a penalty for overtaking Marko Asmer (FMS) under yellows. Pantano crossed the line in second, also setting the fastest lap, as Alvaro Parente (Super Nova) completed the podium line-up, after starting seventh and managing well in the wet to move up the field in the closing laps. All top three finishers remained on slick tyres for the duration of the race, with just six drivers opting for the Bridgestone wet specification tyre.
Sunshine meant Sundays 27 lap sprint race was dry, but not without surprises. Chandhok made a good start although Lucas di Grassi (Campos) was quick off the line to come from fourth to the front by the first corner. The iSport driver soon took back his lead, overtaking di Grassi on the second lap and holding on for a win. Andreas Zuber (Piquet Sports) fought well to cross the line in second, his highest finish of the season. Di Grassi was taken out on lap seven by Pastor Maldonado (Piquet Sports), allowing Senna to take third. Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS) set the fastest lap.
Leaving Hockenheim, Pantano remains ahead in the drivers championship on 63 points from Senna on 48. Grosjean moves up to third with 34 points. iSport International continue to lead the teams championship with 74 points from Racing Engineering on 68. BARWA International Campos are in third place on 49. The next round of the GP2 Series will be held in Hungary where Bridgestones medium compound GP2 Series tyre will be used for the fourth consecutive race weekend.
Quote from Hirohide Hamashima – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
On Saturday it was an interesting GP2 race. In dry conditions Pantano led with Grosjean behind him and it seemed that Giorgio had the advantage in every corner with everyone believing he would win. When it rained the story changed. Romain had good technique and control of the car on slicks in the wet conditions, passing Giorgio to cross the line first. The top three finishers had enough patience to use the dry tyres in the wet and finish well. On Sunday we saw good consistency from the tyres in an aggressive race, with a
spectacular start. Halfway through the race we saw good battles which could be linked to the strong consistency of the Bridgestone slicks. Out in front Chandhok drove a disciplined race to win.