Adam Carroll took third place in GP2’s opening Istanbul race after an early spin by Mike Conway brought the safety car out and made a nonsense of the field’s qualifying positions.
The race was won by ART’s Lucas di Grassi, with Giorgio Pantano in second. Timo Glock, the series leader going into the race, finished fourth and was overtaken in the standings by di Grassi.
Di Grassi’s win was built on a fast start and good pitwork under the safety car, which made an early appearance thanks to Super Nova’s Conway.
The Englishman swapped ends out of turn one and rolled straight into Andy Soucek, who went over him just as Adrian Zaugg found the stricken Super Nova, putting debris all over the track.
At the front of the field polesitter Luca Filippi spun at turn 10, allowing di Grassi past Carroll, and most of the field then dived into the pits.
Afterwards, Glock led the race due to not having stopped, but Andi Zuber led among the cars that had pitted, from di Grassi and Carroll. Zuber came off under braking on lap 20, and Glock dropped to fourth after his pitstop.
Di Grassi’s lead proved unassailable, but Carroll came under heavy pressure from Pantano while Glock closed in on the pair of them. Pantano finally struck on lap 30 when the Italian stuck his nose inside the Brit at the end of the back straight.
Carroll held his nerve and hauled the inside line back in the twisty complex, just keeping his nose ahead on the front straight, but Pantano had the momentum and sliced his way through as they dropped into turn one.
In the end, di Grassi won by a second from Pantano with Carroll dropping back but just holding off Glock.