Giorgio Pantano keeps GP2 leadership

Race 2 – Giorgio Pantano keeps the leadership after yet another podium finish at Silverstone

Giorgio Pantano is looking more and more like the number one candidate for the GP2 series title after scoring another podium finish in yesterday‘s Silverstone Sprint Race. The Racing Engineering driver was third in a very difficult rain-hit race, while his team mate Javier Villa was one of the many victims of the bad conditions, having to withdrawn after spinning near the end.

As predicted by most weather forecasts, it was raining this morning at Silverstone and the Sprint Race started on a very damp track. The first lap clearly showed that the track conditions were very difficult so the key was not to make any mistakes. Giorgio Pantano was one of the drivers who best understood this, gaining no less than five positions in the first lap and he was already lying third first time over the start/finish line after starting 8th due to the GP2 reversed grid system and his Saturday victory.

Ahead of Giorgio, the Brazilians Bruno Senna and Lucas Di Grassi gained some advantage thanks to the mistakes of several drivers following them producing quite a big gap between the two leaders and the rest of the group. Over the next few laps, Pantano was trying to catch them up, being around three seconds behind and setting the best lap time during this part of the race. However after a slight off-road moment on lap seven, that saw the Racing Engineering driver running for several meters over the grass before coming back to the asphalt still in third place, Giorgio realised that the risk was too high and continued the race thinking more about the Championship than  today’s race. Additionally, as he was now being followed by Mike Conway a driver with a very good knowledge of Silverstone, keeping third place wasn’t easy either, but Giorgio focused on staying in his podium position and gaining the important points associated with third place to keep his series leadership.

It was mission accomplished for the driver of the Spanish team as after a very steady drive to complete the 24 laps Giorgio finished 3rd, even coming close to catching the second placed Di Grassi after closing on him in the final laps to cross the finish line separated by just one and a half seconds from the Brazilian.

Javi’s race wasn’t so successful, starting in the middle of the group after yesterday’s 13th position, the Spaniard barely had any chance to drive in clear traffic and visibility conditions to enable him to show his potential. After several laps behind Valles, eventually passing him on lap 12, Javi was then held up by Buurman for the ensuing laps, and, while trying to look for a gap to overtake him, he couldn’t avoid a spin in the slow section of Silverstone, having to retire when he has running 11th.

With today’s third place, Giorgio Pantano continues as the clear leader of the GP2 series, with an advantage of 11 points over Bruno Senna. Giorgio has scored more wins and podium finishes so far this season than any of his rivals, a good display of both his driving skills and the excellent preparation of the Racing Engineering cars that keep their enviable reliability record.

Alfonso de Orleans Borbón (team principal): "Another great result for Giorgio and the team. Everyone did a great job during the whole weekend. Conditions were not easy, but everyone was up to the task. Congratulations to the whole team."

Javier Villa (driver car 11): "It was a difficult race and I didn't feel confident during the race. It was very difficult for me as I haven't done many races in the wet in general. The first part of the race I lost a bit and towards the end I was a bit quicker, but I need more."

Giorgio Pantano (driver car 12): "Well, from 8th to 3rd was quite good for me under these conditions. I just decided to keep my place and not take a risk, especially during the last 10 laps when it started raining again. So I finished 3rd. I have to thank the entire team as we had a great weekend."