GP2 Series raring to get back into action It’s been three weeks since the GP2 circus was in Hungary and since Nico Hülkenberg extended his lead even more after a historical hat trick. The summer break is now over, the dust has settled and everyone is looking forward to getting back into the action this weekend in Valencia.
After a bright start in the 2009 season, Romain Grosjean has left the Series to join the ING Renault F1 Team and Formula One double World Champion Fernando Alonso. He is replaced at Barwa Addax Team by Italian Davide Valsecchi who, in turn, leaves his seat at Durango’s to countryman Stefano Coletti.
While ART Grand Prix have imposed their pace and have dominated the Series since Silverstone, their German ace Nico Hülkenberg has become the man to beat in 2009. With Grosjean now gone, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi are the closest rivals to the Series’ leader, both of whom won races in Valencia last season whereas Hülkenberg will be discovering the long and challenging track this weekend.
Di Grassi of course recalls fondly of the Spaniard street circuit: “I like Valencia” said the Fat Burner Racing Engineering Brazilian. “It’s a really nice track and I am looking forward to going there. It’s a street circuit, but it doesn’t feel like one – I would say it is closer to a normal circuit than a street circuit. On the straight you have all the walls and so on, but there are very big run-off areas in the main braking zones, so if you do a small mistake, you don’t crash. It’s much more forgiving than Monaco, where if you make any mistake you hit the wall.
“Valencia is really fast – I think it is the fastest street circuit I have ever driven on, apart from Macau. What make the layout special is the long straights which makes it hard on fuel consumption and very hard on brakes. You focus on having good traction and getting out of the corners fast so you can gain a lot of time on the straights. But at the same time the last part has a lot of quick corners, so you have to juggle the aero and mechanical balance.”
Friday 21st August
11.55 – 12.25 Practice
15.55 – 16.25 Qualifying
Saturday 22nd August
16.00 Race 1
Sunday 23rd August
10.30 Race 2