The 2008 GP2 Series Championship title race climaxes in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. With just two rounds left, Pantano, Senna and di Grassi are locked in a three-way battle for the 2008 drivers’ title. With 71 points, a consistent point finishes and three consecutive feature race wins in France, Britain and Germany, Giorgio Pantano has become the man anyone with title aspiration would have to beat, starting with Bruno Senna.
The Brazilian ace entered the title race when he took the top step of the Monaco podium. But lost points in the last three rounds may result in him falling just short come Monza. And while the iSport driver was gunning for Pantano, his countryman di Grassi entered the championship in Magny-Cours and finished second at the French feature race. Since then, he has scored points consistently, won twice and suffered just one retirement. With 51 points today, di Grassi’s only regret could be that he missed the first three rounds of the season. On average, the Campos man has scored over five points in each of his 10 races.
With Pantano’s scoring average at less than 4.5 in 16 outings, di Grassi has outscored his title rivals, but with just two rounds left, he may be running out of races. In Spa this weekend, the facts are here: should the Italian outscore Senna by six points or more he will have the championship sewn up before his home race at Monza. In terms of its motorsport heritage, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit is up there with Monaco, Le Mans and Silverstone and has remained a favourite with drivers and spectators since it’s inception in 1924.
“Spa always produces good races,” explains Jérôme D’Ambrosio. “There are always opportunities to overtake, and the weather is guaranteed to change during the weekend. “This is my home race and I have to stay focussed and treat it like any other event, but it’s really a great track, one of the best on this year’s calendar and I’m really looking forward to taking a GP2 car around there. It’s got all sorts of corners and is very, very demanding.
“The Bruxelles hairpin for example is like nothing else, and always tricky. As you round a full 180 degrees downhill it’s all too easy to overcook it on the way in, hit the brakes late and go into the gravel. Blanchimont and Les Combes will be interesting, and then there is always the famous Eau Rouge bend. In a GP2 car it is going to be very tough, but the first time I do it flat is bound to bring a big smile to my face! “I’ve raced Formula Renaults at Spa and in those types of cars, Eau Rouge is really not that demanding. But, watching the GP2s last year I know it’s going to be an altogether different experience.
“My last time racing here was in a two litre Formula Renault in 2005, but the track has changed since then, especially the last chicane, where they’ve put asphalt run offs in a couple of places. Such changes always alter the configuration of the lap. But, that’s normal with most circuits these days.”
Schedule Friday 5th September 11.55 – 12.25 Practice 16.00 – 16.30 Qualifying Saturday 6th September 16.00 Race 1 Sunday 7th September 10.30 Race 2