GP2 Asia: Romain Grosjean in pole position for opening race of GP2 Asia season

Top three for start grid in opening round of GP2 Asia at Yas Marina - Romain Grosjean middle, with Jules Bianchi and Davide Valsecchi right

Thursday, February 10th 2011– Romain Grosjean leads French Connection Dams racer on Abu Dhabi pole ahead of Lotus ART’s Jules Bianchi First GP2 Asia Series Champion Romain Grosjean put his Dams GP2/11 car on pole position for tomorrow’s feature race at Yas Marina Circuit.

He set a best laptime of 1:36.041 – a clear four tenths ahead of Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART, and making it an all French front row. Reigning Champion Davide Valsecchi qualified third at the wheel of the new Team AirAsia car.

A couple of hours following today’s first practice session of the fourth GP2 Asia Series, the twenty-six cars were back in action in Abu Dhabi for the qualifying session. After only three laps, Grosjean set the pace in 1:36.568 with Valsecchi a shy tenth slower. Also on his third lap, Bianchi went top, but it was only temporarily as Grosjean improved even further and went two tenths quicker than his fellow countryman.

At mid-session, with most of the cars back in the pits, Grosjean was leading Bianchi, Marcus Ericsson, Davide Valsecchi, earlier quickest man Josef Kral, Dani Clos and GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutierrez. When the cars took back to the track, Clos at Racing Engineering moved up to P3 before eventually being edged out by Valsecchi. Meanwhile, Grosjean would not let anyone steal pole from him today, improving his best laptime and setting a four tenth gap between him and Bianchi.

Romain Grosjean

Clearly on par with Grosjean’s pace, Bianchi put his head down and started to push to reduce said gap, but not only did he get stuck in traffic in his third sector but he also went wide one time too many making it impossible to snatch pole from the Dams’ racer. Behind the top three, Clos, Giedo van der Garde, Ericsson, Carlin’s Max Chilton, Kral, Gutierrez and newcomer Nathanael Berthon at Racing Engineering rounded up the top ten. Tomorrow’s first feature race of the GP2 Asia Series will start at 16:55, local time. And with fourteen drivers within the same second during today’s qualifying session, it is definitely one race you do not want to miss!

Abu Dhabi – Practice Session

1. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:36.041 14
2. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:36.448 15
3. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:36.501 15
4. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:36.614 15
5. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:36.658 13
6. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:36.659 13
7. Max Chilton Carlin 1:36.693 14
8. Josef Kral Arden International 1:36.724 13
9. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:36.741 14
10. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:36.825 15
11. Sam Bird iSport International 1:36.830 14
12. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:36.8631 15
13. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology 1:36,875 14
14. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:36.961 13
15. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:37.047 12
16. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing 1:37.129 15
17. Julian Leal Rapax 1:37.145 16
18. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:37.305 14
19. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:37.329 15
20. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology 1:37.345 15
21. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:37.426 9
22. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:37.535 11
23. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:37.572 14
24. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:37.632 13
25. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:37,669 10
26. James Jakes Scuderia Coloni 1:37.741 14

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