The first GP2 Asia race of 2010 is set to be held at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit at the weekend for a twilight contest featuring five new drivers.
They include Barwa Addax pilots Giedo van der Garde and Sergio Perez, Coloni’s Alberto Valerio and Trident’s Dani Clos as well as Jules Bianchi partnering Britain’s Sam Bird at ART.
The series is returning to the Middle Eastern venue for the second in this season’s four-date GP2 Asia calendar. The remaining two meetings will be held in Bahrain, one later this month and one in March.
Max Chilton was originally signed to appear for Barwa Addax, racing for the team at the same venue in November, but has since announced he will spend the main GP2 season alongside 20-year-old Swiss driver Fabio Leimer at Ocean Racing Technology, under the eye of team boss and former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro.
Oliver Turvey is secure in his Racing Steps Foundation-funded drive with Norfolk-based squad iSport, while Will Bratt is cashing in his Euroseries 3000 winner’s prize with a drive at Coloni.
This means that, of the five Brits who raced at the season opener at Yas Marina in November, only one is unaccounted for – assuming that Chilton actually gets his Ocean debut this side of the main series opener in Barcelona in April.
James Jakes, a Super Nova veteran who took a feature race podium and six points during this season’s opening weekend, looks to be out of the car in favour of former ART driver Marcus Ericsson.
The November race saw DAMS rookie Christian Vietoris manage to stop a seemingly unbeatable Davide Valsecchi after the iSport driver topped the practice and qualifying sessions then took a feature race win.
But he couldn’t quite defeat the reversed grid for the sprint race, ending up in second place but claiming 19 points out of a maximum total of 20 during the weekend.
This means that Valsecchi leads the drivers’ standings by 10 points from Vietoris, himself just one ahead of both Meritus’ Luca Filippi and Super Nova’s Josef Kral.