as Giorgio Pantano wins the 2008 GP2 Drivers Championship
Giorgio Pantano delighted his fellow Italian fans in Saturday’s Feature Race at Monza where he clinched the 2008 GP2 Drivers Championship with a 10th placed finish in the race.
Since joining Racing Engineering at the beginning of this year Giorgio has proved to be the star of the season as he steered the Repsol and Telefónica supported Dallara of the Spanish team to no less than 4 victories (with one race still to come), as well 6 other top 5 finishes.
It was clear from the opening round of the Championship at Barcelona that Giorgio would be a front runner when, despite both team and driver being new to each other, he finished 4th and 3rd in his first two races with Racing Engineering. It didn’t take Giorgio long to gain his first win of the season when he won the Feature Race at the next round of the GP2 series at Istanbul in Turkey, he gained more points with a 4th place in the Sprint Race.
Following a disappointing weekend at Monaco now came a run of three wins in three race weekends to put Giorgio firmly at the top of the Championship table. This great run began with a win in the Feature Race at Magny Cours in France and was followed by another Feature Race victory in Great Britain on the Silverstone track. Giorgio’s hat-trick of Feature Race wins came two weeks later in Germany when he took the chequered flag at Hockenheim.
Whilst Hungary could only produce a 5th place finish in the Sprint Race it seemed as if Giorgio was back on top at Valencia when, starting from pole position, he dominated the Feature Race only to be cruelly robbed of victory when he (together with several other cars) ran out of fuel on the last lap. Giorgio refused to let this get him down and in Sprint Race the following day, even though he started 14th on the grid, he stormed up the field to take 4th place at the finish.
Although the Belgian weekend at Spa is best forgotten, Giorgio continued to lead the Championship and he was determined to give his fellow Italians something to cheer at Monza. The weekend began in the best possible fashion with Giorgio taking pole position and further increasing his Championship lead and this was followed by a difficult race on a wet and slippery Monza but 10th at the chequered flag was enough to secure Giorgio a well deserved Championship victory
It should be emphasised that Giorgio’s Championship win is not only down to the Italian’s ability behind the wheel, it is also an outstanding team performance from Racing Engineering. The Spanish team have, for the entire season, given Giorgio not only a very competitive car but also, and just as importantly, an incredibly reliable car as Giorgio has had no mechanical failures all year. This is a great tribute to all the hard work that has been carried out by the Racing Engineering team, not only at the circuits of Europe, but also back at their Spanish base at Sanlucar de Barrameda.
Giorgio Pantano: “I am extremely happy because I really wanted to get this title as it was my last chance to show what I am really capable of, and in this way find a way back into F1. I have to really say thanks to the entire Racing Engineering team, especially to the mechanics, because during the entire year we had no mechanical problem whatsoever. That means that the team was working very hard and seriously and we shared the same big goal of winning this championship. I enjoyed this year being with Racing Engineering as it was like a family for me and we all have such a good relationship together. It is actually strange that the season is over and we won't race together anymore and I will miss them. The year has been great, and I enjoyed my battles with Romain, Bruno and all the others. We had great races and my highlight is definitely the one in Silverstone. It was a great season for my team and me."