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In a schedule busier than usual, the GP2 Series competed at the BIC for the second weekend in a row as part of a GP2 stand alone event. The team took a big step in the right direction this morning, qualifying on pole position when Giedo van der Garde recorded an impressive 1:42.451 lap - knocking the current championship leader Davide Valsecchi off the top spot by just 0.1 seconds. Rodolfo Gonzalez also drove incredibly well to qualify P7, ahead of the race at 4pm (local time).
From pole position, Giedo pulled away to take the lead in the early stages of the 32-lap race, pitting for four new tyres on lap 11. Giedo re-entered the race P3, behind Valsecchi and Leimer, to drive a consistent race bringing the car home to collect 19 points for Caterham Racing.
Rodolfo also made a good start and found extra pace on his second set of tyres. Throughout the long race he fought hard, showing good pace, but unfortunately an incident with another car two laps from the end sent him spinning off the track and he finished the race in 14th place. His misfortune did not end there, as after the race he was issued a 20-second penalty for setting a fastest sector time under a yellow flag. The Venezuelan will now start race two from 18th position on the grid.
Race two starts Saturday 28th April at 1400hrs local time.
Phill Spencer: "I am pleased with the results today. We have collected our first podium of the season as well as some points, which all goes to help our campaign. Congratulations to Giedo, he had a good race today. We still have some work to do to match the front runners but the engineers and crew have made really good progress. Rodolfo unfortunately had more bad luck today. His pace was there and he was fighting hard but he had a coming together and a 20-second penalty which have cost him positions.
"We have lots to do but this progress all bodes well for our season, we just need to work on being more consistent overall. As for the race tomorrow we have a lot of useful data from race two last week when Giedo was very strong, so hopefully this can aid us and we can have another strong race tomorrow."
Giedo van der Garde (P3, best lap 1:46.162): "I am very pleased with the progress we have made this week we have improved our set-up for qualifying, which is such a big thing over a race weekend. We got some points for pole position as well as for third place so I am happy about that. I got a very good start this afternoon and pulled away from the others, we made a good choice to pit when we did and my race pace afterwards was very competitive - but we still have an issue with the tyres. The DAMS team have a very good race car so we have some work to do tonight to try and understand what happens to our tyres so we can be consistently competitive during both qualifying and the race."
Rodolfo Gonzalez (P14, best lap: 1:46.769 ) "First of all, well done to Giedo for scoring our first podium this season. Unfortunately for me it was a frustrating race after such a positive qualifying session this morning. I got a good start from P7 on the grid but lacked some grip and I wasn't able to defend my position. After the pit stop the car felt great the pace was there and I managed to fight and gain some positions back. It looking like I would finish 12th but with just two laps to go a car one lap down turned into me and caused us both to spin off the track so I lost two positions. It seems I also improved under a yellow flag, so I have a 20-second penalty for race two. Hopefully tomorrow can be a better race for me."
Humphrey Corbett "After a difficult race last weekend, we will gladly take points for a pole position and a podium today. We took a risk with a new set-up we have not run before and it seems to have paid off, so I am very happy about that and well done to Giedo for finishing third. Rodolfo also got a strong start and ran in the top 10 early on in the race. His pace was good and he was happy with the car, we just need to work on getting him in the points at the end of the race. The cars once again ran faultlessly, so all in all I am a lot happier than I was 24 hours ago and feeling positive about our race tomorrow. Hopefully we can conclude our time here in Bahrain with another podium."
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