Imola proves a challenge for Norfolk’s GP2 outfits

It was a tricky weekend for Norfolk's GP2 teams as this year's Asia Series came to an end at Imola.

Reduced to two rounds following the abandonment in Bahrain last month, the San Marino track proved a difficult home as Formula One's feeder category prepares to switch attention to the European Main Series, which starts in Turkey in May.

The opening feature race on Saturday saw Griston's Super Nova Racing out-perform their county rivals, with Lotus Renault F1 reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy taking eighth spot after a great drive – earning him pole position in Sunday's sprint race thanks to the reversed grid.

Team-mate Johnny Cecotto took 15th thanks to some excellent overtaking manoeuvres, while Carleton Rode's iSport had Marcus Eriksson come home in 10th, a place behind the Trident of Attleborough's Rodolfo Gonzalez.

Fellow iSport man Sam Bird saw his race end on lap eight.

Hingham's Team Air Asia had a fantastic opening round in Abu Dhabi – their first ever GP2 race bringing a podium for Davide Valsecchi.

But Imola proved a much taller order, after Valsecchi finished an excellent sixth – only to be disqualified from the weekend's two races after his car's floor was found to be too low.

Most Read

His team-mate Luiz Razia was pushed off the track at turn two, where damage to the front of his car ended his race early.

Romain Grosjean took victory in his DAMS ahead of ex-P1 Motorsport driver Guido van der Garde and the Lotus-backed ART of Jules Bianchi to set up Sunday's sprint race nicely.

That win proved enough for Grosjean to take the Asia Series title, after Dani Clos earned victory in race two.

Brazilian driver Razia's 14th was the best of Norfolk's representatives for Team Air Asia, who finished seventh in the team championship – with iSport top of Norfolk's contingent.

The team's chief race engineer Humphrey Corbett said: 'We avoided the early incidents and Luiz especially is very happy to have completed a race here today.

'Davide pushed hard – we wanted to find his race pace and because of the situation he could hang back and really push in open space, so we ultimately found the car's pace.

'As a new team this has been a good experience – we have lots to test in Silverstone next month (ahead of the Main Series) and two drivers that are well up for it.'

Razia added: 'Overall it was good to finish the race. We knew this series was like a training ground for the Main Series and now I think we know where we are as a team.

'We are strong; we just need to improve a little to fight for the win every time.'