Isport reflect on a GP2 weekend of promise at Silverstone
The battle for Norfolk pride in Formula One's support series took another fascinating twist over the weekend at Silverstone, as Isport impressed.
The Carleton Rode team saw Marcus Ericsson take a feature race podium in Saturday's GP2 Main Series, a couple of places ahead of British team-mate Sam Bird and well ahead of the rest of the county's strong contingent.
Fourth and sixth-place finishes in Sunday morning's sprint race respectively continued Isport's momentum, seeing the Norfolk outfit return to second in the teams' championship and Bird up to third in the drivers' standings.
'It was a pretty strong weekend for us,' said team principal Paul Jackson. 'Saturday's race was quite tough with the changing conditions, but I think the guys really called the strategy right and we improved and had good pace at the end, so that was very satisfying.
'Sunday again we had both cars in the points; Sam just struggled a little bit at the end. But again we improved our position in the championships and overall it was a very positive weekend for us.'
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Ericsson admitted his Saturday podium was just what the doctor ordered for both his and Isport's ambitions this season.
'Yeah, it's been tough,' laughed the Swede. 'We were quite quick in pre-season testing but we've struggling a bit since. The car is always good and the team has done a good job, but I've had some bad luck and made some mistakes myself which have hurt me.
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'So we haven't scored as many points as we hoped, but this is a good start for the second half of the season to improve.'
However, for Norfolk's other two teams it was a pointless weekend.
Hingham's Team Air Asia – linked to Team Lotus – dropped from second to fourth in the teams' championship as a result, with 14th finishes for a clearly disappointed Davide Valsecchi on Saturday and Luiz Razia Sunday not much to show for their efforts.
Griston's Super Nova Racing fared little better, although Luca Filippi did at least finish ahead of the team's Hingham rivals in both races to give team principal David Sears a boost.
French Group Lotus-backed ART took the win on Saturday thanks to Jules Bianchi's confident drive, while Attleborough racer Rodolfo Gozalez peaked with a 13th-place finish in his Trident in Sunday's sprint race.
Bird and Valsecchi sit third and fourth in the drivers' standings respectively, behind Giedo van der Garde annd leader Romain Grosjean, with four rounds and eight races remaining.