Preview: GP2 Round 10 – Portimao


GP2 will head to the new Portimao circuit for the final two races of the 2009 season.

However, for the first time in the series' history the title will not decided on the final weekend, Nico Hulkenburg having wrapped the championship over Vitaly Petrov a week ago in Monza.

But while the drivers may have been settled, the same drivers still have a part to play in the team's title, with Hulkenburg's ART team leading Barwa Addax by only 13 points.

And even though the other teams may be out of contention don't expect that to mean them and their drivers won't be as competitive especially with contracts on the line for next season and four new teams due to line up in Formula One.

The race is even more important for Parente and Karun Chandhok, drivers for Tiago Montiero's Ocean Racing Technology, who will finish their first season as a team in GP2 with their home event.

“This is a very important meeting for the team,” says Chandhok. “We will meet a lot of people who have supported [us] during the entire season.”

One team that will not be meeting anyone, however, are Durango. After having to pull out of their home event in Monza after Stefano Coletti's accident at Spa ruled him out of driving the team's only available car, they have also been forced out of the final event, as Coletti was still unfit to race and the team was unable to find replacement wheelmen at such short notice.

“This race is not in conjunction with Formula One,” explained team boss Ivone Pinton. “Which made it very difficult to find drivers [with the right experience and budget]”.

With the Portimao circuit only having opened a year ago a vast majority of the GP2 drivers will be making their first visit to the track. Home driver Alvaro Parente sees the track as a challenge, but not without parallels on other GP2 tracks “it is undulating like Spa, it has blind corners like Valencia, except that there are no walls. The last corner is really fast – I think a GP2 car will be interesting around that corner.”

The feature race is scheduled for 2pm (local time) on Saturday, with the season ending sprint race at 1pm (local time) the following day.