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GP Week : Issue 3
28 VITALY Petrov and a devastatingly fast Kamui Kobayashi set the GP2 Asia pace in Malaysia. With four races down in the GP2 Asia Series, the championship arrived in Malaysia with Romain Grosjean leading the title race. The French rookie has been the outstanding revelation of this short series to date, and when he set a pole position lap almost three-quarters of a second faster than any of his rivals, one began to appreciate why his ART Grand Prix team boss Fred Vasseur has claimed he could “do a Lewis” in the main series in 2008. Despite paddock rumours claiming the Frenchman was gaining preferential treatment (see news story), there was little anyone could do to help the Frenchman as he stalled at the start of the feature race, immediately falling from first to last place. He was fairly lucky to have done so, however, as rain began to fall over the far side of the circuit. Race leader Bruno Senna was the first to encounter it, and the first to fall foul of it too, as he slid off the track and gifted the lead to Adrian Valles, with Sebastien Buemi second. With rain now pelting down and the drivers struggling to hold onto the tarmac with their slicks, the race was red- flagged with just one lap run. When the race finally got going again, the rain had stopped and a dry line started to form. On lap 17, Fairuz Fauzy took a gamble and pitted for slicks. Although initially slow, he would be rewarded in the long run as soon it became clear that the track was drying suitably for everyone to change. Buemi took his gamble and came in, with Valles following suit a few laps later. But with Buemi’s tyres up to temperature, the Spaniard slid around the track and after attempting to defend his position a touch too forcefully both he and Buemi were out in an unnecessary collision. All that left Petrov clear for the win ahead of the gambling Fauzy and Jerome d’Ambrosio who became the first Belgian to take to a GP2 podium. Race 2 saw Toyota F1 third driver Kobayashi take the lead at the first corner and never look back. On a hot and dry circuit there wasn’t another driver to touch the Japanese driver who became the first from his nation to win a GP2 race. Grosjean however was making amends for his Saturday problems and fought his way through to second position, with Petrov completing a great weekend for him in third. Grosjean thus maintained his championship lead on 35 points, with Petrov now second on 24 and Fauzy third on 23. ART Grand Prix lead the team’s championship with 35, five ahead of Campos Grand Prix with iSport third on 24. GP2: Petrov and Kobayashi rock Malaysia