The next round of this winter’s GP2 Asia series kicks off in Dubai tomorrow – with the sole British driver on the grid, James Jakes, set to race for Super Nova.
It is the second time that the series has visited the United Arab Emirates, with the inaugural GP2 Asia race taking place there in January this year.
Following the 2008/09 season opener in Shanghai, Piquet’s Roldan Rodriguez and Jakes’ Super Nova team-mate Javier Villa lead the charge with 13 and 10 points respectively.
However, the Briton’s first race was not an easy one. He had to retire from the sprint following a heavy crash and was 13th in the feature race, meaning he is one of a number of drivers still waiting to open this year’s account.
He visits Dubai following an appearance at the Macau Grand Prix where he finished 12th in the F3 race, improving considerably on his qualifying position of 26th.
Third-placed Kamui Kobayashi, with nine points and driving for DAMS, is tipped to be among the leaders by the end of the weekend. Other drivers to look out for include Meritus rookie Earl Bamber who scored his first GP2 podium in Shanghai’s sprint race.
Pastor Maldonado, who finished the main GP2 season in fifth place, is now set to drive for ART Grand Prix in GP2 Asia, which should also contribute to an exciting weekend’s racing.
Campos’ Vitaly Petrov is one driver with experience of the Dubai circuit. He told the series website: “It feels good in a GP2 car, and it’s in quite an amazing city. You need quite a long time to learn the circuit and also to find the setup.
“It’s technical and quite difficult in places, so it’s very important to find the line, but we have some good setup information from there that we managed to get last season.
“I’ve had four races in Dubai, and anyone who has experience there should be at an advantage. It will be very different for us than racing in China where we’ve had very little experience and no data to use as a starting point.
“There are a couple of areas on the circuit in particular where a bit of knowledge puts you in a good position. But I’m not going to give away all my secrets now!”
The weekend’s timetable is as follows. All times are local and Dubai is four hours ahead of GMT:
- Thursday December 4
- Practice: 1.15pm
- Qualifying: 4.30pm
- Friday December 5
- Sprint race: 1.10pm
- Saturday December 6
- Feature race: 1pm