A learning weekend for ART in Turkey
And a new podium
The 2010 Turkish round of the GP2 series wasn’t overly kind to the ART Grand Prix team when under sweltering conditions the majority of the field left it until the last minute to post their strongest times in qualifying, leaving Sam Bird the fastest of their two drives in fifth place.
Race one saw the young Brit move into a podium finish after an early stop, finishing in third place. Starting from sixth in race two, Sam Bird was en route for more points when he encountered tyre wear in the second half of the race. He was down in seventh when he came under increasing pressure from several drivers and despite defending them to the best of his ability he ended up dropping down to P10 at the finish.
Meanwhile Jules Bianchi had a tough time on the Istanbul circuit qualifying twelfth, the French driver then trying to make up for lost ground in the first race but did just the opposite when he collided with Charles Pic on lap two and was forced to retire. Race two then saw a strong drive to climb up from the back of the grid to finish thirteenth.
The next round of the 2010 GP2 championship will take place at the Valencia street circuit from the 25th to 27th of June.
Jules Bianchi: “It was a tough weekend from start to finish. I did not get the maximum out of the car in practice and did not turn things around in qualifying. I was keen to make up for the lost ground but I guess I was too optimistic and I collided with Charles Pic on the second lap of the first race which basically put an end to the weekend. This is a lesson to learn and I’m sure I will come back stronger for the next round.”
Sam Bird: “Istanbul Park is a tricky but very exciting track! Qualifying was not that easy to handle with the heat and the track conditions and I was satisfied with 5th spot on the starting grid. I pushed hard all through the feature race and to climb on the podium was a nice reward for the team and I. I was adamant to fight for another one in the second race but my tyres were not OK with that and I lost grip as well as positions to end up outside the points. Still, the weekend was fruitful in terms of points and experience, I can feel we are going in the right direction, ART Grand Prix is doing a great job as always and I’m looking forward to fighting in Valencia as I like street circuits.”
Frederic Vasseur: “We had some trouble getting to grip with the track in qualifying but Sam did a great job to recover on Saturday and his first podium in the series is highly deserved. Unfortunately his tyres went off mid-race on Sunday and we have to analyse this to be sure we get it right next time. Jules tried to catch up after a difficult qualifying and mixed and matched speed and hurry. This is a good lesson for him and for the team but I’m not worried as both Sam and Jules have what it takes to fight for poles and wins despite their lack of experience in the series. They are the best rookies and we now have to put all the pieces together to match some drivers who have several years of experience. I know we can do it.”
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