ART Grand Prix driver Romain Grosjean strengthened his grip on the GP2 Asia Series title on Saturday by taking the laurels in race 1 at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Frenchman, who had dominated practice and qualifying on Friday, had a bad start however, and both iSport International men - Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna - got the jump.

Further down the order though, Luca Filippi and Marco Bonanomi crashed after the first corner, which led to an early safety car and when the action resumed Grosjean was running in fourth.

At the re-start the 2007 F3 Euro Series champion then soon dispensed with Adrian Valles and when Milos Pavolic went wide while pushing to stay in P1, Hiroshi Yoshimoto, Grosjean and Valles all took the opportunity to move ahead.

Soon after that, Grosjean passed the Qi-Meritus Mahara driver and led comfortably to the end, with an almost 15 second gap to his closest rival.

"My start was, once again, far than perfect," Grosjean reflected. "We had a good pit-stop and when I got back out, I was behind Valles. At the restart, I overtook him and was quickly behind Yoshimoto. Pavlovic went off line and we passed him.

"After I got passed Hiroki, I applied myself not to make any mistake. This is the longest race I've ever had. I'm one step closer to the title, but I'm mainly focusing on delivering a good performance tomorrow."

Trust Team Arden's S?bastien Buemi meanwhile secured the runners-up spot. He drove a strong race, having started eighth, and managed to come back passing both Valles and Kamui Kobayashi to claim second.

"I was so frustrated after the feature race in Sepang, this result is really satisfying," he noted. "I didn't make a good start and lost some positions, but after that, I fought back.

"We worked a lot on the car and I almost got fastest lap today. For tomorrow, I want to score some more points."

The final spot on the podium went to Kobayashi and he was also delighted to get onto the rostrum: "I touched someone at the start because I got stuck between two cars. I didn't have enough space," he stated. "After that, I had some problems with the tyres, but I managed to get on the podium. This is another great result for the team and myself."

Bruno Senna finished fourth after he was blocked behind his team-mate in the pits. He fought his way back and overtook Valles in the closing stages of the race.

"We had no choice but to come in the pits right at the start when the safety car came out, but unfortunately we were right in the middle of the pitlane, and I couldn't get back out because there were still cars coming in, so that really hurt my position," he explained. "So once again the race wasn't straightforward, but I made some really good passes which I'm pleased with.

"I'm actually lucky to have reached the end as I had an engine problem on the last lap. We're not exactly sure yet what the problem is but we'll look into it. The championship is looking good again now and for sure I'll be aiming to get back into second position after tomorrow's race."

Further down the order Davide Valsecchi was sixth for Durango, followed by Diego Nunes and Chandhok, the latter having a disappointing day after starting from second.

For the full race result simply CLICK HERE.



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