Clos wins as Grosjean secures title
|3.||G. van der Garde||+4.007|
20 March 2011 – Dani Clos was able to take advantage of a poor start from pole-sitter Fairuz Fauzy to win the Sprint Race in Imola on Sunday afternoon, with the Racing Engineering driver fending off a race long challenge second place Fabio Leimer. Giedo van der Garde followed in third, as the Dutchman earned a second visit to the podium this weekend.
The drivers were greeted by clear blue skies ahead of the race start, with proceedings getting underway at 1pm local time (GMT +1). The first lap saw Jules Bianchi's championship hopes dashed in a dramatic Turn 1 incident involving Fauzy and Stefano Coletti. Replays revealed that Fauzy outbraked himself and ran straight into the back of Coletti, who in turn impacted heavily with Bianchi’s rear wing.
Clos now led, with Leimer and van der Garde following the Spaniard closely. Grosjean - who was now confirmed as champion - quickly moved towards the front of the field, making his way into fourth place by avoiding the on-track action that occurred during the first few laps. These four drivers settled into a strong rhythm and began to pull away from the rest of the field.
The middle phase of the race passed without many highlights, as overtaking proved difficult at the historic venue. Jolyon Palmer was forced to retire with a technical issue, as the Arden International driver continued his run of bad luck at the circuit this weekend. Marcus Ericsson’s bid to finish firmly inside the top ten ended in an off track excursion, leaving the Swedish driver to fight in the mid-field.
During the final few laps Esteban Gutiérrez was able to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre on Grosjean, but the pair went off track in search of more room. They rejoined well behind van der Garde who was now comfortably occupying third, with Grosjean just ahead of Gutiérrez. A post-race penalty could be on its way for the Frenchman however, after straight-lining the chicane in order to retain his position.
Michael Herck rounded out the top six for Scuderia Coloni, taking his third points finish in a row. However, the key news to come from Imola this afternoon is that Grosjean is the 2011 GP2 Asia Series Champion, and despite the risk of a time penalty the 24-year-old is guaranteed to hold on to his well-earned crown.