DAMS Closing in on the GP2 titles

This weekend DAMS competed in the two races of the fifth round of the GP2 Asian Series Championship on the Sepang circuit that were curtain raisers to the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

With Jérôme d’Ambrosio’s pole and Kamui Kobayashi’s fourth place on the grid, the team was hoping for an excellent result in race 1, which would have been decisive for the attribution of the 2009 titles. Unfortunately, fate struck DAMS a blow before the event even got under way, as d’Ambrosio was unable to start. The Belgian’s car stopped for good after the formation lap due to a transmission problem. The GP2 Series engineers examined it and found the cause - a defective part that was almost new! This left Kamui as the only driver able to defend the team’s colours, and thanks to an out-of-sequence strategy he finished second.

Sunday, a heavy shower hit the circuit a few minutes before the start of race 2, which was put back 20 minutes and was finally given behind the safety car. Kobayashi was able to get up to sixth place in these very difficult grip conditions allied to poor visibility. He held on to this until the final corner, and was passed at the finish line seeing the flag in seventh place. Jérôme drove his heart out but as he was starting from the back of the field a good result was out of the question.

After the second-last round DAMS still leads the teams’ classification with 70 points, while Kobayashi is still on top in the drivers’ ratings with 13 points in hand over his nearest challenger. The next round is in Bahrain as part of the F1 grand prix meeting in 3 weeks time where the team hopes to clinch both titles.

Eric Boullier, team manager: “We’ve got mixed feelings after the fifth round. On the one hand, we’re very happy to have bagged a lot of points thanks to Kamui, which helps us to close in on both 2009 titles. Despite that, we’re gutted for Jérôme who deserved to win yesterday and have a much better weekend. At this level of competition being let down by a new mechanical component is very difficult to accept. He’s proved his talent, and he’ll certainly be one of the men to watch in the final round of the championship.”

Kamui Kobayashi: 2nd race 1, 7th race 2“In the context of the championship which I’m still leading it hasn’t been too bad a weekend. I scored several points and I’m well placed to win the title in Bahrain. I think it would have been possible to go for victory, but my bad position on the grid prevented me from doing so. Also, I’m frustrated not to have hung on to sixth place today. I lost it by a few centimetres. I’d like to thank the team for giving me an excellent car this weekend, and I hope to finish the season on a high note at the next event.”

Jérôme d’Ambrosio: Non-starter race 1, non-finisher in race 2“A stupid mechanical failure transformed what should have been a perfect weekend into a nightmare! I was unable to defend my chances yesterday, as I didn’t even start. Today, it was impossible for me to score points in normal conditions. I’m very disappointed but my aim is to bounce back at the next event. I’ll show that my performance on Friday wasn’t just a flash in the pan!”

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