Bridgestone Motorsport’s GP2 Series Report

Nico  Hulkenberg  (ART  Grand  Prix)  claimed  the  2009  GP2  Series  title  on  Sunday  in  Monza,  after  a sensational   rookie   season.   The   penultimate   round   of   the   Bridgestone-supported   championship   also provided Giedo van der Garde (iSport International) and Luiz Razia (Party Poker Racing.Com SC) with race wins on Bridgestone’s wet and medium dry specification tyres. The main challenge for the teams and drivers in Monza was managing the heat durability of the tyres during the  Friday  sessions,  and  battling  with  changing  track  conditions  in  the  wet  on  Saturday.  With  varied  and extreme weather, tyre management was one of the most important aspects of the weekend. Saturday’s  32  lap  feature race was delayed by heavy rain and started behind the safety car, with van der Garde ultimately taking the lead from Vitaly Petrov (Barwa Addax Team) just two laps before the chequered flag. All drivers, but one, were on Bridgestone’s wet specification tyre for the full duration of the race. Petrov finished in second having started on pole, with Lucas di Grassi (Fat Burner Racing Engineering) taking third place. The point for fastest lap went to Edoardo Mortara (Telmex Arden International). Sunday’s  21 lap  sprint race  was led by Razia throughout, while Hulkenberg and Petrov’s positions behind were  to  decide  the  championship.  Completing  the  podium,  di  Grassi  took  second  place  with  Hulkenberg third. Petrov finished fifth as he was unable to pass Jerome d’Ambrosio (DAMS) in the closing stages, while the final point of the weekend went to Luca Filippi (Super Nova Racing) for quickest lap. Hulkenberg is now champion with 90 points  in the drivers’ standings, while Petrov is second on 68 and di Grassi  third  with  57.  ART  Grand  Prix  leads  the  teams’  championship  with  126  points  from  Barwa  Addax Team on 113. Fat Burner Racing Engineering is in third position with 57. The final round of the 2009 GP2 Series will be held in Portimao, Portugal, on 18-20 September, on Bridgestone’s soft compound slick. Quote from Hirohide Hamashima – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development “Congratulations  to  GP2  Series  drivers’  champion  Nico  Hulkenberg,  it  has  been  an  exciting  penultimate weekend for GP2. The postponed start of the feature race on Saturday would have interrupted the drivers’ concentration,  but  Giedo  van  der  Garde drove well despite the track conditions. The GP2 drivers showed that wet tyre management is important when the circuit conditions change, as the track dries. At the end of the  race,  pit  stop  strategies  altered  the  finishing  order,  making  it  a  very  interesting  race  for  spectators. Degradation of the rear tyres was higher than the fronts and most competitors felt a tendency for the car to oversteer, which is why many drivers only changed the rears. Sunday’s race had an entertaining start, the tyres performed well and congratulations to Luiz Razia for his first GP2 win.”

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