DAMS team manager Eric Boullier admits he is disappointed to see his outfit finish eighth overall in the GP2 Series standings, although he hailed his two drivers Jerome d'Ambrosio and Kamui Kobayashi for their efforts this season.
DAMS finished fifth overall last season, but gambled on an all-rookie pairing of d'Ambrosio and Kobayashi for 2008. However, when the latter got the season off to a superb start with victory at Barcelona, it seemed they would prove competitive again.
Kobayashi, though, went on to endure a terrible maiden season, retiring in seven of the ten feature races, thus leaving him barely an opportunity to score in the sprint events either. Indeed, save for the seven points he claimed at the first round, the highly-rated Japanese driver would win just three further points over the remaining 19 races.
By contrast, d'Ambrosio was a relative unknown coming into the series after winning the Formula Master title in 2007. However, the Belgian driver made a steady improvement through the season, culminating in him taking points in the final six races of the season, including two podiums.
Finishing 11th overall in the standings, d'Ambrosio was thrilled with his final position and has vowed to improve further in 2009.
“It was a difficult race but at least I managed to score points for the sixth consecutive time. The season's ended on a positive note and I've showed I've got what it takes to battle with the front-runners. My thanks to all those who've believed in my skills this year. I promise them I'll do a better job in 2009.”
However, despite d'Ambrosio's success, Boullier admits he is disappointed to drop three positions on 2007, even if he is determined to come back stronger next season.
“We've finished the season in the points and that's very important psychologically speaking. Jérôme's result helped him move up a place in the championship: well done! Kamui has been dogged by a lot of bad luck this year, and his final result isn't a true reflection of his talent.
“Our place in the teams' classification isn't in keeping with our ambitions, and our aim is to be among those fighting for the title in 2009. I'd like to take advantage of the end of the season to thank the whole team for the quality of their work.”