The GP2 Asia Series has announced that it is going to Imola on March 18-20 for a final weekend of feature and sprint races to conclude the 2011 season, after the cancellation of the two scheduled weekends in Bahrain because of the political unrest in that country.
“I know that it is quite peculiar to have Imola added to the GP2 Asia calendar, but the special circumstances had us try and find the best solution for our teams, drivers and fans," said GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel. "The new layout and infrastructures make it the perfect place to host the final round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series."
All the GP2 cars and equipment have already been shipped out of Bahrain - not without more than a few headaches in the process - and returned to Europe in advance of the first round of the main GP2 season in Istanbul at the start of May, so options for holding a replacement round of GP2 Asia looked remote until the organisers hit upon approaching the legendary F1 track at San Marino.
"It was important for everyone to have one last round, and with the tests in Europe starting soon and the logistical requirements, we had to find a European venue," explained Michel. "We had to be quick and think on our feet and we are happy to return to Imola."
The GP2 series itself has some history with Imola - it's where the main series made its own debut in April 2005, which saw Heikki Kovalainen winning the inaugural feature race in an Arden and Adam Carroll win the first sprint race for Super Nova Racing - but the series has not visited Imola since 2006.
The Imola outing will conclude the GP2 Asia season and the weekend will be much as usual, with the feature race on Saturday and the sprint race on Sunday. However, there will be an additional practice session on the Friday to allow all the teams and drives to familiarise themselves with this new circuit.
Qualifying will be on the 18th at 14:30GMT, the feature race 1 will be on the 19th at 13:00GMT, and the sprint race 2 on the 20th at the same start time, 13:00GMT.