Having put in a sterling performance in Bahrain to cement the runners-up spot in GP2's Asia Series, Jerome d'Ambrosio was not about to give up on returning to the podium as the 'regular' season opened in Spain.
Starting from sixth on the grid in Saturday's feature, the Belgian made a blinding getaway, and was up into third after only a few hundred metres. From there, he drove a consistent race, controlling the gap to fourth-placed Luca Filippi, while a good pit-stop from the DAMS team enabled him to hold position and open the summer series with a podium finish.
“When the lights went out, I got a hell of a fright as the car just in front of me was very slow getting away," d'Ambrosio admitted, "However, I managed to avoid it and, in the confusion that followed, I was able to move up to third very quickly.
"The car was well balanced - I felt very much at ease and was able to keep up the pace right to the flag. Today's result is a reward for all the effort I've made over these past few months - and I'm not going to leave it at that!”
True to his word, d'Ambrosio made another near-perfect getaway in Sunday's sprint event, and was up into second spot - from sixth on the grid - by the first corner. Although he was later passed by race one winner Romain Grosjean, he was able to maintain his pace and finish third for the second time over the weekend.
“I managed to squeeze by on the outside in the first corner and gained several places, which determined the outcome of my race," he commented, "I had to look after the tyre wear so as not to have problems at the end, and this is what I did once I was firmly installed in third place.
"I'm satisfied with the weekend, as two rostrum finishes in two races is a good start. Now I just have to get up onto the highest step - and I hope it'll be in Monaco!”
d'Ambrosio's ten points put him into a tie for second place overall in the drivers' ratings, while DAMS is similarly placed after four point-scoring finishes in the two Barcelona races.
Asia Series champion Kamui Kobayashi was made to work for his first point of the 2009 campaign, coming from 22nd on the grid to claim eighth at the flag, but was handicapped by a problem at the start of race two, where a sluggish getaway from pole dropped him to fifth at the end of lap one. Unable to make up any ground in the shorter of the weekend's two events, he remained fifth to the flag.