Giorgio Pantano won the GP2 Series feature race at Istanbul Park today in convincing fashion, leading from start to finish in his Racing Engineering car.
Even though he had a late safety car to contend with, Pantano kept his cool to win by 1.7 seconds ahead of Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) and Andi Zuber (Piquet Sports).
Pantano took the lead from the start, holding his pole position advantage into Turn 1. Behind him, Grosjean grabbed second from Zuber, while Adam Carroll (who started third) and Bruno Senna (who started fifth) both bogged down badly.
Senna's race was ruined when he clipped another car on the approach to Turn 1, damaging his front wing. He would finish 15th after being forced to make two pitstops.
At the front, Pantano pulled out as much as a 7.8 seconds lead over Grosjean, but all his good work was undone by the safety car, required for Alberto Valerio's spin at Turn 8, which left him stranded just off the racing line at the fastest corner on the circuit.
This allowed the three leaders to pit under yellows, and they resumed in the same order. Zuber lost time at the restart, which was effectively a six-lap sprint to the finish on new rubber.
Pantano pulled out a three-second lead immediately, and then cruised to victory, while Zuber made a poor restart and had to fight his way back onto Grosjean's tail, which he only managed at the finish.
Karun Chandhok was a lonely fourth for iSport, ahead of Vitaly Petrov (Campos), Sebastien Buemi (Arden) and Javier Villa, who dropped from sixth to eighth when passed by Buemi and Carroll, but got one place back on the penultimate lap.
Carroll will now start Sunday's race from reverse grid pole.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Pantano Racing Engineering 56:51.163 2. Grosjean ART Grand Prix + 1.792 3. Zuber Piquet Sports + 2.252 4. Chandhok iSport International + 11.321 5. Petrov Campos Team + 12.474 6. Buemi Trust Team Arden + 13.773 7. Villa Racing Engineering + 14.894 8. Carroll FMS International + 16.675 9. Conway Trident Racing + 17.743 10. Valles BCN Competicion + 19.012 11. Tung Trident Racing + 20.346 12. Rodriguez FMS International + 21.238 13. Nunes DPR + 22.507 14. Buurman Trust Team Arden + 23.294 15. Senna iSport International + 23.765 16. Filippi ART Grand Prix + 1 Lap 17. Hanley Campos Team + 1 Lap 18. Valerio Durango + 2 Laps 19. Soucek Super Nova Racing + 3 Laps Classified: Pos Driver Team Laps D'ambrosio Dams 29 Maldonado Piquet Sports 19 Pavlovic BCN Competicion 16 Ricci DPR 8 Parente Super Nova Racing 7 Kobayashi Dams 1 Fastest lap: Zuber, 1:33.482 on lap 33