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#21 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 05 December 2011 - 19:38

Film two: "The Victory Cup"

Part seven:



And a bit of more shots from the event... :)

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#22 OFFLINE   Zorrinho

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Отправлено 08 December 2011 - 21:47

Thanks a lot for the race. He got awesome class at the wheel yet! B)

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#23 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 02 February 2012 - 11:10

The third round of Russian 2005 championship in the LADA Revolution racing class.June 24-25, the “Myachkovo Ring” Circuit.

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Vitaly Petrov (Maxmotor-Ulianovsk team):

I had a good rest after the second round – won the demonstration “Victory cup” race on the Vorobiovy Gory in Moscow and had lots of fun driving on a new track. Unfortunately this victory doesn’t count in the general classification; otherwise I would have enlarged my gap from my rivals. One other thing I’m sorry about is lack of extra testing sessions before the third round. This season’s testing sessions are all bound to actual rounds of the championship and take place right before them.

I can’t speak for the whole team, just for myself: I would have really liked to get more testing sessions time. Everything else is just fine. The atmosphere in the team is great. It’s nice to know that my point of view is being listened to; in fact we make all of the decisions together. With a good team you’re halfway to success. And my victories are the effort of every team-member: from a mechanic to a press secretary.

What kind of mood am I in? I want to fight for victories. Just as always.

My big desire is to see more and more motorsport fans. For example I have a kind of a fan club – boys and girls from Vyborg that come to my every race. It’s great to feel one’s support. The only thing I’d like to ask, please let us not follow the USA GP (the notorious 2005 F1 championship round) example and litter the track with bottles, cans etc. Just come and show some support to the performing guys. I’d prefer your support too.

Qualification:

In the qualification (June, 24, Friday) pole-position was taken by Vitaly Petrov with an almost half a second’s time advantage (0:00,490) over Vitaly Dudin («LADA credit»).

First race:
At the start of the first race Petrov lost his leadership to Dudin. However, halfway through the race the Maxmotor-Ulianovsk team driver moved into the leading position and won the race. The battle for the second position went between Vitaly Dudin, Cyril Ladygin («Forza Sport») and Timur Sadredinov («Active-Pro Racing»).


Short results of the first race:

1. Vitaly Petrov (10 points)
2. Vitaly Dudin (8 points)
3. Timur Sadredinov (6 points)

Second race:
The second race began with an accident in the “ vyhod na vzliotnuyu” turn. In attempt to pass his rival, Vitaly Dudin lost control on his LADA Revolution car. He spun and the car stopped across the track so that Cyril Ladygin couldn’t escape the collision. The two cars endangered further racing and the head of the race decided to stop the race. A second start was given in twenty minutes.
During the second race a serious battle for podium positions was held among Yefrosinin, Komarov and Sadredinov. As a result the «Active-Pro Racing» team driver finished in the second position and Komarov with Yefrosinin had another collision. Both couldn’t’ finish the race but Grigory managed to time a couple of more laps and got classified.

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Short results of the second race:
1. Vitaly Petrov (10 points)
2. Timur Sadredinov (8 points)

3. Vitaly Dudin (6 points)

Vitaly Petrov topped all the sessions of the third round of the Russian Championship (qualification, warm-up, two races) except for the Friday free practice, where the best result eas demonstrated by the racing class debutant Timur Sadredinov. In the third round of the NRS LADA the sixteen year-old Sadredinov finished in the podium position for the first time in the Russian Championship and in the “Lada Revolution” racing class. The bronze prize winner of the year 2004 Championship Vitaly Dudin gained his firs podium points in this season. Vitaly Petrov won his sixth and seventh race at the wheel of the national sportprototype and all the more cemented his leadership in the Russian Championship.

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Individual trial for competition:
1. Petrov Vitaly - 56 points
2. Ladygin Cyril -29 points
3. Dudin Vitaly – 29 points


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#24 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 02 February 2012 - 11:25

Video of this round on the Myachkovo Ring Circuit.

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Part one:


Part two:


#25 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 02 February 2012 - 11:33

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Part three:


Part four:


#26 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 27 February 2012 - 06:45

The fourth Round of the 2005 Russian Championship of the National Racing Series (NRS) in the LADA Revolution class.

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Part one:



Part two:



#27 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 27 February 2012 - 06:56

Part three:



Final part of the round's film:



#28 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 27 February 2012 - 08:16

Round seven of the 2005 Russian Championship of the NRS in the LADA Revolution racing class.

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Part one:



Part two:



#29 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 27 February 2012 - 08:27

Part three:



Part four:



#30 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 24 March 2012 - 15:46

We would also like to present you a little treat – here’s a translation of the “Need for Speed” article from the AutoMotorSport Magazine, dated with August of the year 2005. We thank jj9 for providing us with the article scans.

Need for Speed

Vitaly Petrov is a prominent representative of a new generation of young Russian drivers, whose final goal is to make it to European racing series.

It seems he was destined to a successful sporting career. His father Aleksander Petrovich, the owner of a large sports club “Favorit” made sure that his son could go for different kinds of sport since early childhood. Vitaly tried it all: football, tennis, martial arts… motor racing was long absent in that list though. What could be done if motorsport in Vyborg, Vitaly’s hometown, received no development at that time! It is now that there are regularly held rally-sprints, closed circuit ice races and the “Favorit” club opened a new carting. But back then in the middle 90-ties, Petrov could only know of battles taking place on motorsport circuits from television broadcasts.
However, his passion for driving was always strong. His first driving experience dates back to the time he was five. Taking advantage of the fact that the parents are busy hosting guests, he (surely without a permission) took the keys to his father’s Mercedes and went for a ride to a small frozen lake beside their house. The guests were rather surprised to see a car driving on ice… with no driver at the wheel. “ My ears were red for the whole next week” – laughs Vitaly as he recalls this episode in his driving career.
However, this episode had its bright sides. Aleksander Petrovich understood: it would be wiser to let his son drive a car instead of restricting him do that. However, no competitions were implied, his main goal was to teach Vitaly how to drive safely. It soon became evident that Vitaly’s speed and an excellent feeling for the car come naturally. But a talent needs to be fixed and, if possible, developed. That is why father, who initially coached Vitaly, invited professionals.
And how did the thought about racing occur? “All by itself” says Vitaly. “It all began with amateur competitions on a standard Opel Astra. Things looked good and we bought a “vosmerka” upgraded it for racing needs with our own hands and I began to compete on a track and in sprint races”. A pretty unusual beginning of the career for a future circuit racer, don’t you think? Most of the drivers start with carting.
But it turns out, there could not be a racing driver Petrov! “Generally I wanted to try myself in rally – he says, - but they have serious age restrictions – you must be at least 18 years old. And I was only 17…” Carefully considering all pros and cons, Vitaly chose the Lada Cup, where at that time they competed on “vosmerkas”. And the result, you ask? He won the first race he took part in! The specialists expressed their surprise and… attributed it to the unpredictability of the racing class. And meanwhile the Vyborg prodigy kid won the second race, then the third one… He had to skip the fourth because of a fit of appendicitis. But he didn’t even give anyone a chance in the final two races and won both of them, making himself a kind of present for his majority – he won the cup exactly on his 18th birthday.
By the way, it was then (the year was 2002) that rumors started to spread about Vitaly driving “not quite a standard car”. These rumors chase him even now, as he performs in another racing mono-class named Lada Revolution. “That’s ridiculous” cuts off Vitaly. “All of the cars are the same, the difference is in how one prepares them for competitions”. Differ both preparations, and, we add, the skill of the man behind the wheel. All doubts, considering the latter fact (if there remained any among certain people) vanished after “the Vyborg Rocket” (that’s what the journalists named Petrov) was invited to compete in Formula Rusi and the VW Polo Cup and after he won them!
After this Vitaly received dozens of invitations from the best teams of the country. One of the most tempting was from the “Lukoil” manager Eugen Malinovsky, who offered him a part in the national Formula-3 series program. We believe not many youngsters would have declined such an opportunity. But Petrov did. He dropped everything and left for Italy to race in the Formula Renault 2000 championship. Was it worth it? Vitaly gives an evasive answer, saying he is not used to regret about his decisions. And that’s a good approach – why regret it really? The Russian Formula-3 ended with nothing in 2003, and meanwhile Vitaly studied the best European circuits guided by an extremely experienced “teacher”, the Formula-3000 champion and the manager of the “Euronova” racing team Vincenzo Sospiri.
And what cars he saw there! “ In Formula-Renault I finally realized what real speed is” recalls Vitaly. “And Formula-3000 was completely awesome!” Speed… In Russia the Vyborg racer turned out to be faster than the car he drove, so he constantly strived to drive a more powerful and fast car – both in races and in life. That was a kind of a Need For Speed. And what about Europe? There he realized for the first time that speed is an important but the single component of a victory, that it’s not about pure talent but also experience, setup work proficiency and good tactics work.
These were things Vitaly was yet to learn about and that is why two incomplete seasons in Formula Renault brought him more disappointment than triumph. And Vitaly came back to Russia. Not because he was weaker than his rivals but to remind of himself, “to charge the batteries” and feel the slightly forgotten taste of success, victories and prepare better for sieging new world motorsport horizons.
And again there are two series – the European Formula-3, where most of young powerful racers of the Old World compete, and the racing World Cup – A1 Grand Prix, where Vitaly will defeat the colors of the Russian flag by turns with other compatriot racers who have already claimed their reputation on the international motorsport arena – Aleksei Vasiliev and Nikolai Fomenko.
And there – who knows! If “the Vyborg Rocket” will be noticed (and not only by other team managers but also by potential sponsors), he may find the road to “the Qeen of Motorsport” - Formula 1.
Does he think himself ready for such high-class competitions? “I don’t know. It’s worth trying. Might turn out that formula One isn’t ready for me!” It seems he still has that Need For Speed.

Text by Pavel Lifintsev.
Photos by Nikolai Svistun, Vladimir Djuma, the “Manuscript” agency.

Click on the previews below to see the scanned original pages with photographic illustrations
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#31 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 25 March 2012 - 06:54

So ended year 2005, the year that Vitaly spent competing in Russia…
Year 2006

What do you lack to end up in Formula 1, Vitaly? ?

- Victories.

- But it looks like you’re made of victories.

- Those don’t count… They’re all team classifications and local (Russian) championships. You must win European races to be in Formula 1.


For Vitaly this «Quest to the East» wasn’t the first one – he already performed in some serious continental racing series, he got some important experience but at that time he was too young to hope for substantial results. Yet now the Russian is ready to face some serious rivals. The 2006 championship for Vitaly began with the Formula-3000 Euroseries, quite a sophisticated series, where his other age mates from Europe, America and Africa performed.

After the break I actually had to get used to the car and the circuits anew. At first there was neither any driving experience nor understanding and technical problems just made everything worse. If only I managed to have a better early stage of the championship, the whole season would have gone way more smoothly. That didn’t happen though and I see nothing surprising about the situation.



At first Petrov indeed couldn’t catch a rhythm of his own. During a race in Imola, Italy, the Russian got in an accident and his car made a salto mortale at 200 km/ph.

Once in Italy you’ve crashed and turned at an enormous speed. Do you recall that moment?



- Nothing scary, it felt exactly like riding on a roller coaster. No severe clashing. Didn’t even have the time to feel the scare. Before the moment I put it in my head that the car was completely safe. And then was that “flight”… /quote]
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Vitaly Petrov, the racer, became the first Russian to stand up on a podium in a Formula 3000 race. Before him three of our compatriots raced in this racing class: Viktor Maslov, Sergey Zlobin and Roman Rusinov, who had the best finishing position among the three – fourth place. Now Rusinov’s achievements have been beaten by Petrov’s result: at Imola, which is in Italy, in the second round of the European Formula 3000, Petrov stepped on the third step of the podium!

The beginning though was far from bright. During the first race of the weekend Vitaly’s car got kicked off the track at the speed of more than 200 km/ph, when it jumped at one of the competitor’s car that got spun. In the notorious Tamburello turn the car turned over several times. Luckily the racer didn’t get hurt but it took the mechanics all night to repair the car and get it ready for the second race. And that was not in vain: on the second day, starting from the 13th position, Petrov managed to get to the third. “My podium became possible, first of all, due to my mechanics,» praised his men the 21 year old Vyborg born young man.
«Maybe that horrible accident somehow became a turning point in the season, recalls the driver. - One day after the accident I managed to finish third!» In May Vitaly’s feet touched the Silverstone podium for the first time.

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In June he won his first Euro3000 race. That happened on the Hungarian Hungaroring. He then managed to stay in that podium-winning streak throughout four next rounds.

The victory on the Barcelona track in Spain.

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Regarding the total number of points, Petrov not only took the third place in individual trial for competition but also began to catch up with the two leaders – slowly but steadily.

When they saw how fast was the 21year old driver, the Czech Charouz Racing team invited Petrov to take part in the F3000 International Masters racing series round. On the circuit in Brno Vitaly was far more faster than all of his other competitors. «This championship seemed too easy and rather uninteresting to me» he later confessed.

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A few years ago I used to race in Brno on a Formula-Renault 2000Н car, so I have a pretty good idea of the circuit – it has lots of turns, rises and falls. As far as I know the level of F3000 International Masters is approximately equal to that of Euroseries, so I shall fight for victory. Beside that it would be interesting for me to meet a new team, and that would be my third one this year after Euronova and DP.



Vitaly Petrov shall become the second Russian racer, performing in the F3000 International Masters series. Since the start of the season, the 20year old Daniel Move is performing for the ADM Motorsport team.

F3000 Masters: Charouz Racing team (1 pole, 1 best lap)

Italian Formula 3000: Euronova Racing team, 3rd place, 50 points (2 victories, 7 podiums, 1 best lap)

A bit later a way more important debut took place – Vitaly became the first representative from Russia in the GP2 championship that is justly called as junior Formula 1. GP2 weekends take place mostly at the same time as those of F1, so many owners of the leading teams keep their eyes open for them. After the season is through almost every third GP2 driver is offered a tester’s contract – or even a place as a prize driver in the most prestigious racing championship! Petrov looked not bad in GP2 but it was obvious he lacked experience in taming that speedy 650-horse power car. «I cannot yet say that I’ve got a full understanding of the car and how to drive it – commented the sportsman.– The driving experience here is very important, so it is very good to have taken start in eight races and have a complete winter testing session. I am sure this will help to avoid the same situation that became such an obstacle for us in Euro3000.»

That is true, in Euroseries3000 Vitaly didn’t manage to finish in a higher position, than the third – exactly due to spring failures. But he managed to make a big impression and is now ready to make another step up. In November and December he spent several testing sessions in GP2 during his preparation for the 2007 season and tested a World Series by Renault car, with which he was very pleased, and, by the way, managed to finish 3rd among the 28 Formula Renault V6 drivers, regarding that was his first time at the wheel of that car. Now the 22-year-old driver is preparing for a new season – he is about to perform in GP2 or maybe in the World Series.

One thing is for sure – the Russian motorsport and our country received its first Russian representative in the European racing elite. There is no doubt that the Vyborg-born sportsman is able to defend the colors of his country’s flag on the circuits of the Old World... :)

Many people were taking about Petrov’s "fast rising".

Oksana Kossatchenko, Vitaly’s manager, does not quite agree with that statement:

It’s true that we tried not to sit up for too long. We headed for Europe in 2003 and a year later we were able to fight for victory in the Formula Renault championship. But at that time the team put all their effort in Luca Felipe and Vitaly remained in the background. So after two races we returned to Russia and spent two seasons there.



#32 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 28 May 2012 - 19:00

Here’s another interview with Vitaly from the same “AutoMotorSport” magazine, this time dated with July of 2006, the time he performed in the European Formula-3000.

“WHEN THE ANTHEM BEGAN, I WAS A LITTLE AT A LOSS”

This day will enter the history of native (i.e. Russian) motorsport once and for all: the 18th of July became the day when Russian anthem resounded above Hungaroring for the first time. The second race of the fourth round of the European Formula-3000 ended with total triumph of the 21 year-old Russian champion, the Vyborg-born Vitaly Petrov.

It is symbolic that this historic event took place in Budapest. Because it was Hungaroring that, in its time, showed the world of Formula One to Soviet motorsport fans for the first time – since 1986 and up to now Hungary holds the only East-European F1 Grand Prix. 1999 brought us the first success in Formula-3000, and again it took place here: a Belgian Mark Gussens brought to the Lukoil team their first podium in international competitions. In 2000 Arden team Russia won the Italian F-3000, that’s what Euro F-3000 was called then, but West-European drivers achieved that success. Russian racers however, that marched out to conquer the F-3000 in 1998, couldn’t reach the podium until the beginning of this season. It was only in May that Vitaly Petrov, on the track in Imola, managed to reach the third step of the podium. And a month later, for the first time in the history of the Hungaroring racing circuit music by Aleksadrov (the music of Russian anthem) sounded during the podium ceremony. Second on the starting grid, Petrov became leader after the first corner and led the race to the chequered flag.

They call you “the Vyborg Rocket” back in Russia. Did they make out a nickname in Europe?
Petrov: I believe the press-secretary of the championship once told me: “You’re a robot! You do everything as a robot.” That was after the first podium in Imola.

You already know what the world looks like from the top step of the podium. What does the Russian champion feel in Europe?
Petrov: Everything’s different there. Russian anthem alone on a foreign land is worth something! When it began I was even a little at a loss – forgot that one needs to take off the cap.


The first race of the Hungarian round of the championship worked out difficult for you. What were your feelings when you understood that brake problems wouldn’t allow you to show a decent result?
Petrov: Disappointment, of course. I could have fought for podium. I started the race in the sixth position, then became fifth. The driver ahead wasn’t very fast and I constantly approached him until on lap four or five the car gave in – I had to pump up the brakes with my left leg on the straights. Through the team-radio I informed the team that the brakes don’t work but decided to stay on track to score some points and fight for a starting position in the next race. It turned out that there was air in the braking system and that became known ten minutes before the start of the second race. We had to install a new pump. It’s a shame it happened like this. The brakes are our regular problem: the third round and the problem appears for the third time. But we seem to have fixed it now.

Does that affect the relations within the Euronova team in any way?
Petrov: If I have any issues, we sit together and discuss things. The relations with the team are fine, no one bearing grudge. It was in Formula-Renault-2000 that I merely received any attention. But here we spent four hours talking to the engineer before the last race: watched the telemetry, discussed the setup for the car that suffered of strong understeer. And on Monday after the Hungarian round we even rolled out two cars for testing and since eight in the morning I spent time hopping from one car to another. We made some major setup changes in one of them and now the car is quick in entering corners but loses speed in exiting them.

Did you find the right setup for the second race or had to fight your car?
Petrov: You fight your car every time and place.

What were the team’s directions considering the first row’s starting position?
Petrov: To try and exit the first corner in the leading position (because it is very difficult to overtake on the tight Hungarian circuit) and make as large gap between me and the rest as possible. Everything worked out perfectly.


Did the new car require adaptation? Did you have to change your driving style compared to Russian F-1600, where you competed last year?
Petrov: The car drives in a different way. The brakes are one thing. The car slows down from 300 km/ph to 100 km/ph within 100 meters – that’s very fast. You need to sustain high speed in corners, enter them quicker and push the gas pedal as soon as you can. You push the gas later and lose about half a second on a straight. Even one wrong gearbox switch is an inexcusable time loss, especially during the qualification. In Formula-1600 I could lap times over and over and boost with a final lap and in Formula-3000 fresh rubber very soon loses its characteristics. You run out with a new set of tires and time two-three laps, trying to show a decent result. If you don’t manage to do that, you may box with no further runs – time won’t improve.

And do you feel the grown physical load?
Petrov: Sure I do! The F-3000 races are not very long and I coped with them easily. But I had a hard time in the conditions of the 30°C Hungarian heat. I had nothing to breathe with and was desperately thirsty.

How much time do you spare on your physique?
Petrov: Three and a half – four hours a day I spend in the gym. And now I even have two training sessions a day. My coach is an Italian, he controls the amount of load, warms me up before I go the track. I wouldn’t stand even a half of race without this training.

What are your plans for future?
Petrov: We’ll finish this championship and we’ll see. Next year or maybe even at the end of this one I want to try my skills in the GP2 series or Formula-Renault 3,5.

Nikolai Svistun.

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#33 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 07 June 2012 - 21:04

Year 2007.

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The main result of the season became a signed contract with Campos GP2 Racing Team.



A GP2 car is rather different from those I’ve previously driven. It’s faster and more difficult to handle. And it requires a better physical shape since the physical loads are more intense. Besides, the battle on the track is quite rough: the racers that take the start in this championship are experienced and already have some titles in senior series behind their back.


Adrian Campos, the team owner, set an exact goal in front of Petrov: to learn, to make progress and, if possible, score some points for the team. And Vitaly opened his count for those already during the third round – at the legendary circuit of Monaco!
A grand start of the quali, then an accident followed by a start from the sixth position, a time loss during the pit-stop, return to the track and finally finish in the sixth position.


I really enjoyed the Monaco race – the atmosphere is unique. Unfortunately, the team changed the pit-stop tactics, otherwise we could have gained a couple of more positions and end up on a podium.


He continued the streak in France, where he twice finished the race in the fifth place which made him step to ninth position in the championship protocols… And then there was the misfortunate Silverstone, Nurburgring (the worst race in his life, as Vitaly described it), the seventeenth and fifth places in Turkey… Not to mention the way, in which he “celebrated” his birthday in Monza! First a stone that got stuck between the braking disc and the caliper did not allow him to finish higher than in the 12th position, and the next day, after a few collisions on track he gained the tenth finishing position.
The time for revanche came at Spa, where Vitaly again gained two fifth-place finishes, and the final race in Valencia became a total triumph: the driver from Vyborg won his first race in GP2, and the Campos Grand Prix team with Georgio Pantano and Vitaly Petrov took the third place in the “Constructor’s”.

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Even when he competed in some local small series and rally-sprint competitions, Vitaly Petrov’s natural talent seemed evident to many people.

Yes, there was some natural hunch, I simply knew how to drive. But GP2 races require more than just your talent. By the way, I now regret that there was no carting stage in my career. If I could rewind back the time, I would have chosen the following scheme: carting, Formula 3, GP2 and then Formula 1. That would have made things go so much faster!


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At the same time his rivals moved according to that described plan, and now Petrov has to catch up and work harder than his fellow-competitors…

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#34 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 13 June 2012 - 08:28

At that same year of 2007 another historic moment in Vitaly’s career occurred – his debut in the Le Mans series.

And who said that red doesn’t suit Vitaly? ;)

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Vitaly’s debut took place at the “1000 kilometers of Valencia”, where he, in couple with Jean-Maque Guonne drove the LMP2 category Courage LC75 sport prototype. These two were leading in their category but few laps until the finish line they were kicked out of the prizewinners due to a mechanical failure. On the Spa-Francorchamps circuit Petrov got to drive a LMI category car – a 670 hp Courage LC70 AER. Unfortunately, the race turned out a short one: the team retired due to clutch failure.

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To say that I’m upset is to say nothing. Why bother and get the team to the racetrack if there is no confidence in the car? We could have well finished in the third position...



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However, between these two races there was the legendary “Le Mans”! It is worth mentioning that performing on the famous Sarte circuit has not really very much impressed the Vyborg-born sportsman: «We used this race for training – to understand the peculiarities of 24-hour races more thoroughly. For me personally the “Le Mans” seemed easy and our leadership in the class was no surprise. Physically I was ok too, except for some moments maybe, when I felt sleepy. No, of course there were interesting aspects too: a night race, continuous overtaking… Sad, that the team was once again poorly unprepared technically».

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By the way, during that year Vitaly received some nice comments from the press:

The young Russian and the experienced French made no mistakes, posting stable laps one by one and were almost sure of their victory in the LMP2 class before the final pit-stop. Only a final stint till the finish line – another dozen of laps – that’s what remained for Vitaly, but, after the re-fuelling, when the Vyborg-born pushed the engine-starting button, it remained silent. It took the team more than five minutes to fix the problem and that threw Petrov and Gunon in the back. They were 11th to cross the finish line.

Despite technical issues, the “ 1000 kilometers of Valencia” race showed, that the Petrov/Gunon duet became a mighty force in the sport car competitions. The drivers got accustomed to the car and, beside that, Vitaly has thoroughly learned the circuit he is about to compete on in the GP2 championship in autumn. The dress rehearsal before “the 24 hours of Le Mans” can be counted successful.


Take a closer look at the nose of the car… ;)

Only two years ago Vitaly Petrov was defeating everyone in Russian championships. A year ago – was fighting for some very beautiful victories in a serious international Euro3000 series and was making his first steps in GP2. Now the “Vyborg Rocket” is facing new horizons: a full season in the «junior Formula1» and performing in the famous «24 hours of Le Mans» race.
According to the signed contract, the 22-year old driver is to perform in the sport prototype competitions – parallel to GP2 races. There was a similar moment in Vitaly’s career. In the season of the year 2005 he was performing in two racing classes in Russia – and won both of them. But now things are much more serious. We have already said, that the Vyborg sportsman will perform for the Campos Grand Prix team in all of the 11 races of the GP2 series. And now he is enabled to partake in the most legendary car race - “the 24 hours of Le Mans”.
Beside the marathon on the legendary Sarte circuit, that will take place on the 16th-17th of June, Petrov is to take start at three more rounds of the Le Mans series. Six-hour long races in Valencia, Interlagos and Spa will allow the Russian to get accustomed to the 400-hp sport prototype before the main race and also learn new tracks (the racer has never before been in Brazil yet). The more races the better – in the racing world that has long since become an axiom.

Vitaly will perform for the French Noel del Bello team at the wheel of the Courage LC75 car in the LMP2 category. One of his team-mates will become the 37-year old French Cristof Tinso – the vice-champion of the French Formula Renault and Formula 3, the winner of F3000 races, the participant of the European and American “Le Mans” who has already six times taken the start in the legendary 24 hours marathon. The name of the other team member will be announced a little later.
The Noel del Bello Racing team, named after its founder, has a rich history. Del Bello himself performed in Le Mans since 1979 till 1990, and his team won the marathon in the LMP675 (LMP2) class in 2002 and 2003. Now the French are official representatives of the Courage company, since the Rules restrict the presence of “industrial” automobile makers.
The Courage Competition company was founded by Yves Courage in 1982 and at the same year made their debut steps in the «24 hours of Le Mans». At different times the team had Mario Andretti and Enri Pescarollo as its drivers. The team has scored some prize finishes in the marathon’s absolute standings. Now the cars, designed by the Courage win championships and titles on the both sides of Atlantics.


Nevskyi Sport

#35 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

bringing_luck

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Отправлено 04 July 2012 - 09:00

Here's quite a unique and long interview, found for us by Островитянин. Enjoy. :)


Vyborg Defense

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«Shall we play a game of chess?» suggested Vitaly Petrov. And, in such an unexpected way, offered a direction to the whole interview. When the figures were placed on the board, Vitaly added with a sly smile “I’m quite well at playing chess”.

Petrov is a master of surprises. In a season when, generally speaking, nobody was expecting much of him, he managed to create a small marvel. The Vyborg sportsman, who’s never even went to carting, won a GP2 race – a championship, from where drivers go to Formula 1. In a few months’ time, from a mediocre Russian racer, who’s “bought his place in the team”, Vitaly turned into the main racing force of Russian closed circuits. And not long before our meeting it became known that the 22-year old drier should remain in the Campos team in GP2 for another season.


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Well, let’s play… A question for a move and then an answer for a move in return. Vitaly played with black figures.

1. d2-d4

АS: Judging by the state of things, you had the chances to appear in the best team of the championship – the ERT team. In winter you took part in testing sessions for the team, after Lewis Hamilton, their driver, became the champion.


d7-d5

VP: there were no chances to get in the ART team. When I was conducting the testing, I knew the places in the team were already taken.

2. c2-c4

АS: Why the testing then?

e7-e6

VP: Simply to try the car. To find out some secrets maybe or to find out about the way the top-teams work.

3. K b1-c3

АS: Why have you chosen the Campos team after all?

K g8-f6

VP: We knew that for the Campos team will be performing the ex-Formula One driver Giorgio Pantano, and it was useful for me to race with a quick and experienced team-mate. Besides, the team seemed very ambitious: they were ready to work 24/7 with me. Plus, Campos, unlike other teams, offered me a serious training and testing program.

4. B c1-g5

АS: And in Spain, at the second round of the season you got a punch on your pride. When Michail Aleshin came and outqualified you with no experience behind his back and not a single timed lap both on testing and in free practice. Just as well he was faster in the race.


K b8-d7

VP: I was sure things would turn out like this. It may be that these thoughts hindered me: I started the race with a pace too high. And then we had some issues with tyre pressure – and that is if we speak of the race. My loss in the quali didn’t upset me – I really suffered of some issues.


5. e2-e3

АS: Which ones?

C f8-e7

VP: I couldn’t drive fast on the second set of tyres. This is my problem. I’m fast at the start of the quali on the first set, and on the second, the new one I cannot find the right rhythm for a long time. I cannot yet use the full potential of the set. I have no sense of that fringe. But I managed to improve towards the end of the season and the results prove that.

6. K g1-f3

АS: Yes, the progress is impressive. You began with twentieth positions on the grid and then the results went up abruptly. A bit too abruptly, I would say. For example in Monaco, where the feel for the limit you were speaking of, is as important as ever, you managed to finish in the sixth position.

0-0 (castling)

VP: True. There was a time when not everything went right and smooth. At least of me being careful in the beginning of the season. For me every race was precious in terms of experience, each lap could be useful. I couldn’t risk – I didn’t want to get in accidents. If to speak of Monaco, it turned out to be “my” kind of circuit – I came to understand it surprisingly fast. To the end of the race I was even able to drive faster then the drivers ahead of me.

7. R а1-с1

АS: Evidently the Campos team itself made a big step forward in Monaco, since Pantano too showed the kind of results he’s shown nowhere before that.

а7-а6

VP: We clearly had the best car in Monaco. You see, it depends on the track too. In Barcelona everybody knew beforehand that the iSport team will be in front and so it turned out to be. Something like that happened in Monaco with our Campos team.
8. c4:d5

АS: In the next round at Magny Cours you finished in the fifth position. Hadn’t that result driven you in deception? Whatever you say, you managed to get that high due to the retired cars in front of you.

e6:d5

VP: I really didn’t feel much satisfaction. The team was happy but I told the mechanics: “ We have problems and we need to work on them because the other teams are faster.” I really am that frank with them.

9. B f1-d3

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АS: Have you had any conflicts with the engineers?


c7-c6

VP: We had a misunderstanding at Spa. I was utterly against the set-up the team chose. I told them: “It wouldn’t work here. The wings are too “folded” – and our gains in the turns will be lost on he straights.” However they did it their way. I was slow, I boxed and said: “There! Seen it?” And went out.

10. Q d1-c2

АS: What kind of mechanics are those who don’t understand such kind of things?


h7-h6

VP: it’s the engineers. They have 20 years of experience behind their backs, have some notes and records, an understanding of the track of their own, and their own ideas of what is to happen at this or that moment. Of course they wouldn’t start to listen to a rookie at once. They have a goal of their own, they work for a future prospect, search a better set-up. Besides, at the beginning of the season I myself didn’t know exactly how to explain the car’s behavior at a taken moment. Now we’ve become more serious – we try to listen to each other and to understand one another.

11. B g5-h4

АS: let’s get back to the progress. In which aspects was the team making progress?


K f6-e8

VP: Towards the end of the season we managed to handle the tyre pressure issue. It was quite a headache early in the season.

12. C h4-g3

АS: And yet the team raced in past year – how could (if they could at all) they lose all of the experience?


B e7-d6

VP: There is no such thing as repeatingly the same conditions. Even small temperature fluctuations, even if it is only five degrees, change the situation to a great extent.

13. 0-0 (castling)

АS: You’re defending the team in all respects. But may it be that they approached the start of the season not fully prepared?

B d6:g3

VP: Maybe. Before that I haven’t watched the Campos carefully so I don’t know how they were preparing.

14. h2:g3


АS: From Pantano there were much more expectations. And he only managed to become third in the season.


Kn e8-d6

VP: In this case it’s not about Campos, it’s about Pantano himself. Maybe he lacked some form – physical or otherwise. The idea was he was to win the championship – he’s an ex-Formula 1 racer after all and took GP2 victories in the last year. And now he’s got relaxed – that is what they say in the team.

15. Kn c3-a4

АS: In the Asian GP2 championship, where you are about to race in winter, shall repeat the last year’s situation? Will you have a slow start but then a fast progress?


R f8-e8

VP: We need the results faster. We’ll be working on that.

16. R f1-e1

АS: What can you say about the GP2 car? Has its “character” suit your driving style?

Kn d7-f6

VP: Quite the opposite, actually. For example, I’m not used to brake with my left leg. And the first half of the season was a problem in that respect.

17. Kn f3-e5

АS: But in Monaco you did pretty well. And there there’s more breaking then anywhere else.

Kn f6-e4

VP: There are bumps and walls. Somebody’s scared of that but it made no impression on me.

18. Q c2-b3

АS: Mikhail Aleshin told that in Barcelona the tyre got overtwisted round the rim. Is it a typical problem with a GP2 car?


B c8-e6

VP: I don’t know… I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s difficult to tell without knowing the truth but maybe it was about “dead” tyres? Now that’s a typical problem and I was facing it many times.

19. Kn a4-c5

АS: What mechanical issues do you mostly face in GP2, and in Campos in particular?

Kn e4:c5

VP: Brakes. It took us a long time to select the proper temperature for them. As a result in the corners towards the end of braking the wheels were blocking, which led to instability and time loss of about a half a second per lap’s time – if not more. We often had issues with the engine – it was overheating. They changed three or four on Pantano’s car and two on my. But that’s a common problem. The past season became the last one for this generation of cars so there were no newly designed engines for them, everybody was given used-ones. And that led to these troubles.

20. d4:c5

АS: What’s with the story with a stone in your car in Monza? It sounded like an excuse.


K d6-b5

VP: I can show you the video if you want. It really was that way — the magnesium alloy got on the disc and stuck there. On a pit-stop, while we were changing the tyres, air got on the warmed disc which led to an inflammation due to the chemical reaction.

21. a2-a4

АS: And no one beside the Russians had this kind of thing happened?


Kn b5-c7

VP: Pantano had just the same problem. Only he was lucky that there was no need to change the tyres on his car.

22. B d3-b1

АS: Has the career in Russia given you anything at all?


B e6-c8

VP: naturally, it’s all experience. Even overtaking there was very useful – it gives you a lot.

23. Kn e5-f3

АS: They say that when you were performing in the Lada Cup, you missed a race because you were threatened by goons.

Kn c7-e6

VP: It was in 2001. In a race in Togliatti I took the stert from the far end of the grid and won. But while I was struggling through the peloton I touched another car with my bumper, it got stood across the track and then threshed into a tree. We were threatened all right. But we’re good friends now.

24. e3:e4

АS: Do they know in Campos that you’ve never went to carting? /b]

d5:e4

VP: They do. They feel surprised. What’s more, in Russia I’ve raced in mostly in touring cars. And it was quite a daring decision to switch to Formula series.

25. R e1:e4

АS: So, does this mean that carting is not such a vital stage if you and Roman Rusinov (or Timur Sadredinov) before you perform rather well without it?

R e8-e7

VP: No. If I could have re-live my career, I would have gone to carting.

26. R c1-e1

АS: What’s so important that one can find there that you lack now?

B c8-d7

VP: The feeling for the “limits” of the car.

27. Q b3-c2

АS: Your whole mature racing career developed under Italian influence. First Vincenzo Sospiri, who was your coach in “junior” formulae, then Pantano. In what way have they influenced you as a racer?


g7-g6

VP: Sospiri gave me quite a lot.

28. B b1-a2

АS: What exactly?

Q d8-f8

VP: Every driver has secrets of his own and I wouldn’t have liked to reveal them. I’d say this: I’m sure many drivers do not know how to start properly but I know and can. Pantano didn’t give me a thing. I was simply watching him doing all the things and was trying to repeat after him. In closing races I became faster. In Valencia I outqualified him with two positions. On the starting grid he jumped out of the cockpit, ran to me and asked which tyres to put on – rain or slicks? I told him: “It’s risky but put on the slicks” So he did. And we’ve had a one-two finish as a result.

29. Kn f3-e5

АS: Which driving style suits you best – smooth or a more harsh one?

Q f8-g7

VP: One needs to adapt to each track in particular. However, I like it more to drive the car “on the limit”, to “pull” the car. Before a corner I make a double move with the stirring wheel – the first one to feel that limit and then I corner.

30. Kn e5:d7

АS: Wait. Just not long before that you’ve said yourself that it is carting experience that you lack and the feel for the limit of the car…

R e7:d7

VP: No, it’s not the feeling that I lack. But if there was carting in my life, I would have been able to find that limit way quicker.

31. B a2:e6

АS: Is it crucial to take Formula 1 as a main sporting goal?

f7:e6

VP: It’s not of interest for me to be there now. What for? To become a driver in a falling-behind team or a test-driver in a good one? I know though I would have been fast if I came.

32. R e4-g4

АS: And what about Grand Turismo or endurance races in a factory team?


Kg g8-h7

VP: We’re invited to perform in World Touring competitions for a good factory team. They don’t ask money for that. But everything has its time. Meanwhile we’ll be performing in Formulae. Then? When I’m done with them? I’’ switch to rally. And then WTCC and endurance races. Maybe in America.

33. R e1-e6

АS: Rally? That’s a surprise!

R f8-g8

VP: I’ve been driving a rally car all my life, raced on ice on studded tyres. I eve think that I would have performed and progressed in rally better and faster than in closed circuits.
34. Q c2-e4

АS: Would you like to become a part of some junior racing program?

R d7-f7

VP: It’s difficult to say. Yes? I think. Because they already know some things that take me lots of time to understand. By the way, this winter I’m going for a training session with Formula 1 coaches to Austrian mountains for jogging, cycling, skiing.
35. f2-f4

АS: So they have paid attention to the Russian in Formula 1 after all?

Q g7-f8

VP: It’s more that we found them. Through some aquaintants. Though I do not know for sure – it’s more a question you should ask my manager.

36. R g4-g6

АS: As the practice shows with the gains within the program there’s also the pressure. There are lots of examples when the racers couldn’t manage it and broke.


Q f8:c5

VP: A check to you. I’m no exception and I’m being under pressure too. I have a sponsor that can once leave me.

37. Kg g1-f1

АS: Have you got any ideas considering endurance races for the next year?

Q c5-c1

VP: Check once again. Only if there’s a good and serious team. Not the Courage though that cannot even cross the finish line. Le mans and le mans only. It’s a world of its own and a grand history. We’re now negotiating with Pescarolo and Peugeot. They both found us and made an offer. Pescarolo is a great team with traditions and experience, whereas Peugeot are practically rookies but… You know, I really like the taste of the champagne on the podium. So the choice will be difficult.

38. Kg f1-f2

AS: And in GP2 they would be expecting only podiums from you.

Q c1-d2

VP: No. Points – that’s the main goal. But in every race. A check to you.

[b] АS: No mate to you from this position. Let’s make it a draw.


VP: Okay, I agree to that.

#36 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

bringing_luck

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Отправлено 30 July 2012 - 08:18

Year 2008.

GP2 Asia



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Vitaly Petrov from Russia, who’s scored a victory and three podiums, took the third place in the GP2 Asia championship and achieved the goal that was set before the season. But let us be down the line… ;)


The GP2 winter series calendar includes five rounds. The first and final one took place in Dubai, two more – within the period of Formula 1 racing weekends in Malaysia and Bahrain. Vitaly Petrov has already raced, or at least ran some testing on these tracks. Most of his fellow-competitors had that opportunity too, and the team engineers are surely to have some groundwork for the 600 hp Dallara cars setup on their hands. Due to some technical failures with the car Vitaly couldn’t take part in the first race in Dubai.

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That’s silly and very disappointing. We were haunted by technical problems during the time of testing: a burned engine, a three-time gearbox failure… This morning we changed the gearbox for a brand new one but it only lasted for one lap! The team is bewildered and I’m discontented. We’re not even sure yet if we take the start in the tomorrow’s race.



Sentul is quite another thing. The circuit, which was built in 1990 with the personal command of the son of the president Surhato, became the first in Asia outside the territory of Japan. It was supposed that in the late 90-ties the 3,96 km long circuit would welcome Formula 1 but the financial crisis that paralyzed the region put an end to these plans. Nevertheless, the solid and good quality racing complex regularly serves to welcome different sorts of competitions. That includes Asian Formula 3, motoseries, and the A1GP Nation Cup. And now the Grand Prix 2 has arrived here.
For the only Russian contestant in this series the second round of the season is of crucial importance. In hot Dubai technical issues have more than once knocked Vitaly out of the saddle – his most “beloved” was constant gearbox failures. However, in the second race of the round the Barwa International Campos Grand Prix driver managed to make his way from the 25th position to 9th within twenty laps and with that proved that he was justly claimed as a pre-season potential front-runner.

At the start I wasn’t rushing since there were a lot of rookies in front of me and I diddn’t know what to expect of them. Then I began to make my way – little by little. Unfortunately, I have a little bit missed the moment when the safety car’s lights went out and it boxed – otherwise I could have gained a couple of more positions. Besides, I lost a lot of time behind Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio. Pity I couldn’t take the start yesterday – we could have gained more information. I’m very grateful to my team for both car preparation and support. After the race in the garage I was saluted with applauds as if I was the winner. I» m looking forward for the next round!


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In the rain Vitaly Petrov won the “lottery” and brought his rivals over three seconds.

In Indonesia Vitaly Petrov won his first pole-position in the GP2 (Asia) career. In quali, as it was expected, there was rain. When it was time for timed laps, there were puddles on the track. Petrov and the team decided to bet everything and ran him out on slick tyres – he was alone, everyone else was on wet tyres.
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The rain took a break and, with air temperature of 30 degrees ° C, the circuit dried quickly. Petrov’s lap was 1:19.337 he was 4,5 seconds faster then the rest at that moment. The rivals followed the strategy and changed to slicks but it was already too late.

We already know about the Indonesian Sentul quali, and now we turn to the race, and namely the Sunday sprint…

Fairuz Fauzi of Malaysia has won it. The Super Nova team driver started from pole-position, led the race during the whole distance, and, by holding the attacks of Bruno Senna from the iSport International team during the final laps, gained his first GP2 victory.

Due to the rain it was decided to give start behind the Safety Car but even yellow flags couldn’t prevent accidents – on lap two there happened two accidents at one time. The restart of the race was given on lap seven but five more laps later the Safety Car returned as Luka Filippi’s car had spun.
The Safety Car appeared for the third time after an accident between Ben Henley Milosh Pavlovich, who fought with Vitaly Petrov of Russia and Romain Grosjean for the third position. As a result, Pavlovich retired and Henley as forced to box.

On the restart Senna tried to overtake Fauzi but the Malaysian blocked the attack and managed to sustain his leadership to the very finish of the race unlike Bruno who nearly lost his second position while he was trying to bypass Marcello Pulizi of Italy, who had spun in the chicane. Petrov who was driving right after, tried to use the situation to his best and made an overtaking attempt on the Brazilian, though Bruno managed to hold his position.

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It began raining before the start and we put on rain tires but took the risk and choose “dry” set-up and that turned out to be a mistake It’s a shame we had to begin the race under the Safety Car – that prevented us from gaining positions during the starting stint. If the Safety Car hadn’t been released for so many times and for so many laps, the results could have been better. However, I enjoyed the race! It was an interesting fight with Senna, he defended beautifully though he was a second slower. It’s a shame I didn’t manage to earn an extra point for the best lap – my result was just three hundredths worse than that of Fauzi. But I’m glad to win a podium in a tense fight. Thank you everyone for support!



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#37 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

bringing_luck

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Отправлено 07 August 2012 - 20:55

Round 3.

The Saturday race of the third round of the “winter” GP2 Asia series in Malaysia resulted in an unexpected victory from Vitaly Petrov of Russia. The Barwa International Campos team driver headed into the race being only seventeenth on the grid but flawless driving in difficult weather conditions enabled him to fight his way through to leadership and score his first victory in the Asian championship. This became Vitaly’s second victory in his GP2 racing career, after the last year’s triumphant success in Valencia.
The Kuala-Lumpur weekend began difficultly for Vitaly Petrov. The 23-year old Barwa International Campos Grand Prix team driver had to get acquainted to the Malaysian Sepang circuit since he’d never raced there before. In the quali the strict stewards penalized Vitaly twice at a time: they first zeroed his best lap time (it was shown after the end of the session) and then gave him a five-place downshift penalty for ignoring yellow flags. As a result, Petrov, instead of the tenth position, had to start his race from the seventeenth.
As the starting lights went down, the engines on the two first-line cars of Romaine Grosjean and Karun Chandhock died out. And, had the rest of the peloton only covered half-a-lap’s distance, a heavy rain came crushing down on the track. This led to several accidents involving the leader Bruno Senna and others which immediately led to red flags drawn by the stewards.
By that time Petrov, who managed to avoid mistakes, reached the fifth position and on the restart there were Adrian Valdes, Sebastien Buemi, Fairuz Fauzy and Ho-Pin Tung in front of him. Soon the Chinese, yielding to Russian’s pressure, ran off-track and, with the Malaysian heading for his pit-stop, Vitaly got a clear way to the top-three. The Malaysian took the risk and put on slick tires but the Super Nova team made an evident mistake – the track remained moist enough. This made Fairuz spin in the final hairpin..

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However, had only Fauzy become fast on track, the rest of the drivers rushed to their boxes. On the pit-lane exit Buemi and Valdes crashed and had to retire. So, after all the pit-stops, Petrov headed the race, while another collision took place behind him in a fight for the second position – this time Romaine Grosjean and Milosh Pavlovich didn’t manage to avoid each other on the track. As a result the Serbian went off-track but managed to return back and the French had to box for an urgent restoration of his damaged car.
Petrov in his turn held a firm leadership up to the very chequered flag, and outpaced Fauzy, who had finished in the second position, with 6,5 seconds. The second runner-up became Jerome D’Ambrosio, and Davide Valsecchi, Kamui Kobayashi, Jelmer Buurman, Milosh Pavlovich and Harald Schlegelmich have closed the points’ zone.
Grosjean scored the best lap for his record and finished in the ninth position, maintaining general leadership in the championship standings. Fauzy, who now moved to the second place in the general standings, is eight points behind him and two – ahead of Petrov, who, thankfully to the victory, has now risen to the third position in general rankings.
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Vitaly Petrov:

I can truly say it was the most difficult race in my life. There was a lot of confusion because of the rain, the team was considering to the very last moment, whether to put on rain tires or remain on slicks on the restart. In the race the car felt brilliantly, the engineers did a splendid job! The tomorrow’s sprint is expected to be a tough one with Romaine Grosjean right behind me on the grid, and I’m just some points behind him in the classification. The race will be short, so there’s no room for mistakes there. I want to say a one big “thank you” for all your support! It’s very nice to know that people at home care for you.


«And it was before the sprint that we did decide to change the set-up – and it was a wrong guess. I think if we remained on previous set-up, we could have done better than that, but in this new configuration I had been a far from the fastest car on track. But, despite even that, I managed to score a podium finish, so I’m very satisfied with the Malaysian round. I’m currently in the second position in the general rankings, so the championship finale seems to be gripping. Hope that in Bahrain we’d be able to show high pace from the beginning of the week-end».

In the second race Vitaly had finished in the third place, right after Grosjean and Kobayashi.



Round 4....

The sprint race of the fourth round of the of the “winter” GP2 Asia series in Bahrainh brought a victory to Kamui Kobayashi, the title to romaine Grosjean and another podium to Vitaly Petrov.

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Petrov started only from the tenth position but managed to achieve a brilliant start and, making use of the first-corner collision between Karun Chandhock and Diego Nunhes, fought through to the leading position! To the end of the lap though the Russian had been overtaken by Grosjean, who, however, had not been destined to cross the finish line that day – due to technical failures he had to box and retire.

After that the only driver who could prevent Grosjean from claiming his title as early as Bahrain, was Petrov. To do that, Vitaly needed to score more than four points in that sprint. Alas, the Russian couldn’t fight off the attacks of Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi but, nevertheless, finished the race in the third position, scoring his fourth podium during the season. Due to that Petrov maintained his second position in the series’ general classification. And now, before the final round of the series he is four points ahead of Buemi, five points ahead of Senna and Fairuz Fauzy and six – ahead of Kobayashi.

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The race was an interesting one, I had a lot of fun. I managed to make a good start; I successfully escaped all collisions and contacts, which enabled me to fight in the top-three group. My car was slower than that of Kobayashi and Buemi, so it was foolish to resist their attacks – I needed vitally to score points to maintain my second position in the championship. My thoughts are now all in Dubai, where the final round is to take place in a week from now. I hope we will have no technical issues as we had in the first round and I’d be able to hold my “silver” runner-up position in the general classification. And, once again, I want to thank all my fans for their support!


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In the fifth and final round of the Asian championship, which welcomed the circuit in Dubai, Petrov proved once again that he was one of the strongest GP2 drivers. The Russian driver of the Barwa International Campos Grand Prix team performed both final races of the championship very maturely, fighting for positions in the leading group. In the first race Vitaly, seventh on the grid, finished it in the fourth position. And it needs to be taken into account that the waving of the chequered flag fixed Vitaly in the third position but due to the stewards’ mistake that had sent the drivers for an extra-lap, his “bronze” overtaking maneuver, unfortunately, wasn’t regarded.
The Saturday sprint also brought a brilliant performance from Petrov, who actively fought for positions, overtaking his rivals, and forced Romaine Grosjean, the “winter” series champion, to make a mistake in a struggle for the third position. He was steadily heading for his another podium (fifth in that season), when, eight laps to the finish line, the “Vyborg Rocket” had been failed by technical issues – the fuel pump gave in.
Nevertheless, Petrov became the second runner-up of the GP2 Asia championship, which, regarding strong rivals and serious competition, can be called a great result. Besides, never before have Russian drivers achieved such high results in a Formula series so prestigious. To say more, with Petrov’s efforts, the Barwa International Campos Grand Prix team took the third place in the general teams’ classification and became the first team to have Asian drivers performing for it, since, we remind you, Russia had been ranked by the organizers as Asia.

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Such high-class performance, demonstrated by the Russian driver, had not remained unnoticed by Formula 1 team managers, since Malaysian and Bahrain rounds, which matched those of Formula 1, Petrov performed excellently, scoring three podiums in four races, regarding a magnificent Kuala-Lumpur victory in tricky weather conditions. Some of the Formula 1 team managers already demonstrated conspicuous interest in Vitaly.

Vitaly Petrov himself is about to confirm his class and has already began his training for the “summer” GP2 championship, which is to start in two weeks in Barcelona.
The first round of the series will take place on the 26-27th of April within the Formula 1 Spanish Gran Prix weekend…

Vitaly Petrov:

The third overall place in the championship is an excellent result, though I’m a maximalist by nature and always strive for more. I enjoyed the past season; there were lots of tight and interesting fights. Most especially memorable was the first race in Malaysia, I would say. It had been rather the most difficult in my career. I was only seventeenth on the start but managed to get through and win the race. The competition within the series this year is extremely high, so the more pleasant is to take a place in the top-three in the championship standings. I’m also very glad for my team, which has won the Asian series, since ahead of us were only two teams with no Asian drivers performing for them, so, respectively, they hadn’t been classified in the Asian teams championship. This is a great result and we will now fight for podiums in the European championship. Thanks to the supporters and see you in Barcelona!


So ended up this Asian series.



Soon comes Europe! To be continued... :)

#38 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 14 August 2012 - 18:42

Europe 2008...



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On April 25-27 in Barcelona, Spain, began a new season of the junior racing series GP2. Vitaly Petrov of Russia approached the championship regarded as one of the leaders.

During the first race of the season after the pit-stop wave he was placed in the fifth position but soon after the restart Adrian Valles had overtaken him. However, a few laps later the Vyborg driver regained his position, though Vitaly couldn’t hold it up to the finish line. In one of the corners he made a mistake, went off into the gravel and let Romain Grosjean pass. Thus, finishing the race in the sixth position, Petrov opened the score to his points from the very first race of the season.

On Sunday, April 27, Vitaly began the race from the third position, gave up a couple of places on the start but was firmly holding in the fifth while the gear box in his car gave in, which forced the Campos team driver to drop the fight and retire.

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As Vitaly said himself:

It’s a shame that hydraulic malfunctions prevented me from demonstrating a decent result. It’s now about waiting for the Turkish round and, hopefully, no technical failures.


The next GP2 round took place in Turkey two weeks later. But in that time some other significant events took place…
Vitaly Petrov took part in the «TrackMania» computer game tournament. The event was dedicated to the release of the 400th issue of the “Klaxon” newspaper and the issue of a famous in Russia network computer game «TrackMania» by “Buka” - «United Forever».

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After a round of qualifying tournaments where anyone could take part, 32 best players from 4 countries: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Latvia have been selected. On May, 5 they met at a Moscow gaming club called «4 Game» in order to draw some valuable prizes and get the chance to race on a virtual track against a real driver – Vitaly Petrov.

The players were divided into eight groups of four people each. Thus there remained four finalists who were to try their skill against the GP2 driver. Among the finalists there was held a mini-championship of five races on various tracks, the result of which yielded the winner. He became Denis Kukushkin of Moscow who received the main prize – a laptop - from the hands of Vadim Khudiakov, the acting for editor-in-chief of the “Klaxon” newspaper. Beside that, Vitaly Petrov gave valuable prizes to all of the finalists. Those who failed to enter the final stage got some memorable presents from the Russian GP2 driver too.

Yet in a special round featuring the journalists VitalyPetrov has outraced them all. He’s now heading for Turkey where May 10-11 real racing shall take place - the “Vyborg Rocket” will be partaking the second round of the GP2 series.

And one more event this year. :)

May, 6 in an informal atmosphere took place a meeting between the Russian driver of an international GP2 racing series Vitaly Petrov and the president of the Russian Automobile Federation, Victor Nikolaevich Kiryanov.

Victor Nikolaevich had wished Vitaly further success and also addressed him to help the growth of interest and popularity of motorsport in Russia via Vitaly’s success on racing circuits all over the world. Beside that the RAF president suggested the Vyborg driver to propagandize road safety and agitate young men for a healthy lifestyle and love for motorsport. On his part Victor Nikolaevich had promised to attend one of the GP2 series rounds, which take place within the same periods as the Formula 1 series rounds, and support Vitaly Petrov there personally.

As a last thing, Mr. Kiryanov, recalling the fact that during the racing season Petrov lives in Barcelona, advised him to drop in at his good friends’ restaurant in that town, where, as he says, they make a delicious borsch. Vitaly promised to visit the place and taste the recommended dish as soon as his tight GP2 racing schedule allowed him to.

Here’s an interview with Vitaly Petrov dated 05/09/2008. Published on f1news.ru.

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In Turkey Vitaly did really well! The 23 year-old driver of Vyborg, on scoring 9 points in the round, entered the list of championship title fighters. The Russian started the race in the ninth position and was moving fifth by the end of the first lap. It seems that clutch issues that troubled him so much in Catalonia have now remained in the past. This time however the car yelded another surprise – due to high looseness in the steering Petrov had to forget about attacking attempts and fight in defense. Right on his rear wheel was Xavier Villa, the young Spaniard, definitely not happy with his sixth position. For many times had he tried to attack only to remain backed off.
In attempt to outrace Petrov, the rival made it for his obligatory pit-stop long before half-race distance. The Adrian Campos team members reacted in a flash-light: Vitally was called to box a lap later, his mechanics executed the whole procedure so fast that, considering the overall time spent on pit-lane (32 seconds), the Vyborg guy turned among the best in the race. Villa remained in the back but there tuned up another headache - Alberto Valerio, the Brazilian. He started the race among the last ones but remained on-track non-stop for so long, that he appeared right in front of Petrov. And just had Vitaly began to press his rival that the latter spun on worn tires. Luckily the Russian managed to sneak past the out-of-control car, finished the race in the fifth, scoring very important four points and getting fourth position for the Sunday’s sprint starting grid.

On Sunday the 23-year-old racer made a non-the-less beautiful start. Moving to the edge of the track Vitaly took an advantageous trajectory in the first corner and went out of it leading the race! The rivals remained in the back and ahead were the very difficult 23 laps of the race. First Buemi tried to outrace Vitaly. The Swiss is a crucial rival for our driver, since it is him who had in the last moment robbed Vitaly of Asian GP2 “silver”, so the encounter was very tense. All the more pleasant is the fact that it was Barwa International Campos GP team driver who won it.

However, not long before half-race distance Romain Grosjean had chased this couple down. He demonstrated remarkable speed yet in the winter races, as if his car had been way more powerful. The situation repeated this time too – first Buemi, and then Petrov, having a brakes issue at a quite improper time and giving a beautiful and tight fight, were forced to surrender their positions. However that was the only position Vitaly lost – he saved his second place till the very finish line4 that is his best result so far in the season.

The outcome of the race, as well as the whole round, should be counted successful for Vitaly. Not only had he proven to be ready for top-level fights in the championship that is fairly considered a jumpstart platform for future Formula 1 drivers, but also took the fifth place in the general individual classification. Petrov is only two points away from the third place.

V. Petrov:

The weekend turned out to be a tough one but all is well that ends well. I scored some very important points – hopefully I can continue the same way further on. It’s a great thing that we’ve figured out the reasons of our mechanical issues: in the first race the car was almost impossible to control, the steering wheel had an approximately 25 degree looseness on each side, however, between the races our mechanics have completely dealt with the problem. During the second race I had some issues with the brakes but that was a trifle compared to the Saturday troubles. The points I have scored in Turkey give me the ground to hope for good results in the next races. Thanks everyone for support! Go Russia!


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The French driver Romain Grosjean, answering the journalists’ questions about his Vyborg-born competitor Vitaly Petrov admitted his “excellent defense” and called Vitaly himself “ a wonderful rival.”
:respect:

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The driver classification of the GP2 Series after two rounds: 1. Джорджио Пантано (Racing Engineering) — 24 points 2. Romain Grosjean (ART) — 19 3. Sebastien Buemi (Arden) — 14 4. Andreas Zuber (Piquet Sports) — 13 5. Vitaly Petrov (Campos) — 12 6. Alvaro Parente (Super Nova) — 11 7. Bruno Senna (iSport) — 11 8. Kamui Kobayashi (DAMS) — 8 ...

Teams’ general classification: 1. Racing Engineering — 27 points 2. ART — 19 3. iSport — 16 4. Piquet — 15 5. Arden — 14 6. Campos — 13 7. Super Nova — 11 8. DAMS — 7 ...

We’re now waiting for the next round in Monaco that will take place on the 24th of May.
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#39 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 16 September 2012 - 10:09

Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton, Nelson Pique-Jr., Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima – all these drivers moved to Formula 1 reaching success in GP2. The champion of the series is almost guaranteed to sign a contract with one of the Formula 1 teams, and in Turkey the F1News.Ru correspondent had an interview with the GP2 boss Bruno Michelle to figure out: who’s next?

Question: Let us talk about Russian drivers. Vitaly Petrov began his second GP2 season. What do you expect of him?
Bruno Michelle: Last year he did a fantastic job. Vitaly was slower comparing to the leaders in the opening races but made a more considerable progress than the other contenders. That is surprising considering the fact that his teammate was Pantano. Pantano’s got speed in his blood, but Vitaly made everything right – he learned from the Italian and towards the end of the championship he leveled with him. The finale of the season performed by Vitaly was brilliant, he’s won in Valencia and then showed a great drive in GP2 Asia, where he managed to grasp the third place in spite of technical troubles.

The beginning of the main series unfolds well enough – Petrov is stable as always. I believe in 2009 he’d be one of those chasing the title, if Vitaly continues to make progress at the same speed, as he is now – everything’s possible.


But let us get back to the round. Monaco, 2008. But it all began with… football, and not racing. :)

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Luis II Stadium hosted a traditional charity football match with Formula 1 and GP2 drivers taking part in it; all the revenues collected from it went directly to the account of the A.M.A.D.E. fund, founded in 1963 by Princess Grace to protect the rights of the children.
Two teams participated— «Nazionale Piloti» (Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichiela, Jarno Trulli, Felipe Massa, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastian Fettel and the Russian Vitaly Petrov) and the «Star Team» — Andre and Pierre Cazeragi, Loris Capirossi, Sergey Bubka and other sportsmen.

In this particular case the score was not as significant as full grandstands and a vast sum of money, collected for charity purpose, but it was nice to know the racers’ team won — 4:0... :)

And now to the race. Here’s what Vitaly said concerning the track in Monaco:

A difficult street circuit, where the line between the most advantageous driving line and the hard rail is the thinnest ever, and that appeals to him and enables him to go for a conscious risk.


The race went wrong from the very beginning. Because of the quali being interrupted with red flags, the Russian, as well as many other drivers, couldn’t go for his fast laps series and ended up with 13th result, and as the session was over it turned out that the steward penalized him with five places down the grid for the free practice incident. By the way, the same incident Formula 1 involving Fernando Alonso remained totally unnoticed.
As a result, Petrov was forced to start his race only from the 17th position, although he demonstrated pace that matched that of the leaders (and sometimes even was superior). The tight streets of Monaco made that position a kind of a verdict. And the Friday race lasted for Vitaly just a few corners. Managing quite a bad start and having passed a couple of his rivals, on his way down from the Casino square to the Mirabeau corner he’d been hit in the rear wheel by the Chinese racer Tung. The Russian’s car got roughly pulled aside; it hit the barrier, bounced back and collided with Kobayashi’s car. The race for the Vyborg sportsman was over.

Due to early retirement, “the Vyborg Rocket” was forced to start the second race of the weekend from the farthest position. That situation left no much of a choice: either rush into the thick of the first corner-fight to try and win a couple of positions or let the contenders blow off the steam and drive past their crashed cars.
Vitaly chose the second option and led his race, slowly rising in position as some of his rivals failed. Leaden clouds were hovering over the sky and the rain could give Vitaly a real helping hand, considering that he’s an acknowledged master of “wet drive” in GP2. But yet the water hadn’t poured on the streets of the dukedom. So, as a result, the race turned out for the Russian a mere drive to the finish line. He made no mistakes, closely following his team-partner for Campos International Barwa GP Ben Henley. The Russian racer managed to get to the 15th position to the chequered flag.
The Monaco round ended up for Vitaly not the way he could expect mainly because of that ridiculous stewards’ verdict. However, none of his opponents managed to show anything outstanding in the 3rd GP2 round, so now he’s seventh in the general classification, and is only seven points behind the current “bronze” owner.

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V. Petrov:

The weekend went bad from the very start. I cannot judge as to the fairness of the stewards’ decision concerning the qualification penalty, but I can say this – the news was brought not to the right time. I was preparing and concentrating for quali and then came that… It was difficult to focus. It’s a shame too that they crossed out my best lap result – that was the result for the second position. And as for the first race, there was actually no race – a few corners and then a mistake made by my rival, to which Kobayashi and I fell victims.

In the Saturday sprint I was placed at the farthest row of the grid. I can’t even recall what does it feel like to start from the tail of the peloton. It would be rather naïve to expect something if you start the Monaco race from the back. That is why I simply tried to avoid any mistakes during the second race and then, when it’s over, forget everything that happened during the last days as soon as I could. It’s a real shame, since I do like this circuit and I hoped for an absolutely different result.


Apart from the races in the June of 2008, the teams and drivers gathered to gain a better understanding of the cars and clear up the set-up for the next rounds.

During the first day the runs were held on the mid-speed track configuration – the drivers were given one session in the morning and another one after dinner. The second day was dedicated to preparations for races at Spa and Monza.

During the two days of planned testing Vitaly ran 137 laps and showed the fourth best time among thirty other rivals.

20-22 of June, France. The 4th round...

In the Saturday race at the Magni-Cur circuit the Russian driver Vitaly Petrov finished in the 4th position. And the start of the Sunday race was given while the asphalt was still moist from the recent rain. As it is known, in these conditions the 23-year-old Vyborg sportsman feels way more confident than most of his contenders.

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The French weekend unfolded for the only Russian GP2 participant trending up. In the quali he showed the eighth result, became sixth on the grid (two of his rivals got penalized by the stewards), and crossed the finish line in the fourth position. The race held within the French Grand Prix, turned out quite an even one – it was only at the finish stint that Petrov had to fight back the sharp attacks of the Austrian Andreas Zuber – but that was a kind of task that the Barwa International Campos Team driver dealt with easily.

Having scored some other points, in the Sunday race the 23-year-old driver of Vyborg had excellent chances to enhance his success. Before the start each team had to decide the main problem: which set of tyres to put on for the start of the opening stint. The tyres designed for rain prevented the drivers from mistakes on the moist track, but the slicks promised great prospects for the second part of the race, when the asphalt got more or less dry. The team of Adrian Campos preferred the first option – as well as most of other teams.

The first laps indeed brought quite a lot of mistakes but it soon became clear that the slicks allow a faster driving. By that moment Vitaly Petrov has already made it from fifth to first position, however, when most of his rivals headed for their pits, the Russian remained on-track, losing precious seconds due to radio malfunctions. And what an awful thing to happen – when Vitaly did make his tyre change, the rain poured again! That was a short shower but it managed to totally upset all Vitaly’s plans.

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The Vyborg sportsman turned up drawn out of the top-ten and was forced to bid farewell to all his hopes for success in this race. And Giorgio Pantano put the lid on. The experienced Italian, a year ago - Petrov’s teammate, tried to pass his former partner – the cars collided and that led to serious balance and control breach on the “Vyborg Rocket’s” car. The driver was able to continue but three laps to finish line was forced to retire.

After the French round Vitaly owns 17 points. He takes the seventh position in the championship fight but is only three points away from the “bronze” third position. The Barwa International Campos Team, due to the efforts of the Russian and the Brazilian Lucas di Grassi became the most successful in the result of the Magni-Cour round and is now in the fourth position of the general team classification, fighting for the title of the strongest.

V.Petrov:

Heading for the start on Sunday I saw the track was still very damp – so we decided not to risk and put on wet tyres. Such a shame everything was spoiled due to such a trifle as the radio. Yet in the first race it went haywire and in the second went silent almost instantly… And although the Sunday race did not make out, I’d like to point out that after the recent tests and the joining of Lucas, the team made a big step up. I like to work with my new teammate and I can’t wait for the next rounds.


Round five, «Stone of silver»or the great Silverstone.


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The race was a truly crazy one…It's long since there were such exciting, thrilling and grasping to the very finish line races. It is worth mentioning the race took place on a moist track, and in some places the moist turned into real puddles. In these conditions no driver escaped to make at least one mistake.
Bruno Senna, the driver for the iSport team, won the race. For the Brazilian this victory became his second one in this season. The second to cross the finish line was the returning into the championship Reanault-F1 test driver Lucas di Grassi, who is now performing for the Campos team. The Racing Engineering driver Giorgio Pantano – this year’s current leader, won the third step of the podium.
Our Vitaly Petrov also managed an excellent race. The Vyborg driver proved it many times that he takes to tricky weather conditions like a duck to water. This time proved it too: at the very start Vitaly emerged to the fifth position but then he got spun and he rolled back to the sixth. And in the mid-race he started to actively press Andy Soucheck of the Super Nova team, and in result Vitaly passed the Spaniard on the outer radius with a beautiful maneuver and returned his fifth position. Petrov could as well fight for the fourth position with Michael Convey but Vitaly got spun once more. The race resulted for Vitaly in the fifth finishing position. In the general classification Vitaly stepped to the sixth line with 20 points.

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The gearbox break-down deprived Vitaly Petrov of the possibility to step onto the prize podium in the Saturday GP2 race in the seventh round at the Hungarian Hungaroring.


From the very start of the weekend the Russian looked very confident and demonstrated fourth time in the quali. Notwithstanding the fact that the “Vyborg Rocket” had to start from the”dirty” side of the track, the driver traditionally well managed the first meters of the distance and overtook two of his rivals. During the most time of the race he remained in the top-three, fighting with his Barwa International Campos Team teammate Lucas di Grassi and the Austrian driver Andreas Zuber. There was almost no doubt that it was the three of them to share the podium – the only thing to clear was the position each one would get.

Unfortunately, technical issues threw Petrov of the fight at the very moment when he was evidently pressing his competitors. The gearbox in the mid-race lost third gear, which was kind of a sentence on the slow circuit of Hungaroring…

Vitaly Petrov:

I was driving in the top-three when the gearbox broke down. It’s not the mechanics’
fault, it’s production defect. The third gear got cut down, all the denticles on the gear-wheel. And this is a kind of circuit that leaves no overtaking opportunities – which you start is which you finish. There’s only one small straight, not enough for overtaking.


In the mid-season all of us had a kind of setback. Something was wrong. Accidents, retirements, problems. After this race they began to pay attention to us again. We were driving way faster then all the rest. They said I was one of the quickest, that they sympathize with me.


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#40 OFFLINE   bringing_luck

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Отправлено 10 October 2012 - 19:04

Pertov’s Formulae

The GP2 series, in which Vitaly spent more than two years, is often called “the final step to Formula 1”. And that’s not just words: many of the today’s “royal Formula” drivers – Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton are the yesterday GP2 rookies. This was what gave an impulse to our talk.

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Vitaly, your second full GP2 season is now through. What next?

For the time I shall remain in this series – to improve the results. This year I made it to the seventh general position with thirty-nine points – and that is almost twice as more as in the previous season. The final goal is Formula 1, of course. Theoretically I can get there even now – if only I had a major sponsor like Gasprom or the like. But first I need to get enough “driving”. It’s not sufficient yet and to try and slam into F1 at this moment would only mean to mess things up.

All right, let us take a look at the year 2010: you've got three full seasons in GP2 behind you… That's a little too much according to present time standards: aren’t you “sitting up”? What will your potential employers think?

The professionals do not simply count the seasons spent in the championship. They know I came into professional motorsport being 17 years old and my rivals grew at the wheel of a cart. My and their real racing mileage differs almost in two times. That is why for me the third season in GP2 is anything but failure.

This year your results improved considerably. But you couldn’t finish six of the twenty races. And two – because of the falling apart gearbox…

Yes, we had some issues with reliability. But the team hasn’t found the exact reason. They say they’re sorry, thy say “We cannot do a thing about it”. However, the guilt probably lies partly on the car developers — in any case, they promised to modernize the gearbox for the next season.

So maybe change the team for a more classier one – say for ART Grand Prix or iSport International?

Maybe, but the “top” teams conduct a different policy – you need to tow a title sponsor with you. And how does it go in major companies? If the company is Dutch – it supports a Dutchman. If it is from Emirates – they deal for their own, local racer and so on. So this means my sponsor should be Russian… So, in 2009 I remain at Campos, all the more because I was offered a very advantageous contract — I shall drive the season almost for free.

Your present team, Campos, won the GP2 team championship. However, it is not considered a top-team. What makes this difference in class?

You know, I would say in stability. iSport or ART come to the circuit— and almost always at once «hit» the right set-up. Afterwards there’s only a touch of “polishing”, optimization. And we don’t get the same result every time. There are times the right set-up is found in no time and there are those when we spend the whole day searching for alternative and more suitable one. I suspect it lies in the engineers’ sophistication, or, probably, our rivals have more accurate virtual models of the car.

Vitaly, among the young Russian drivers, you managed, as it seems, to try and drive most kinds of racing cars — «body», «major» and «minor» «formulae» and even LeMans sportprototypes of the LMP1 andLMP2 class. In the season of 2008 the car in the GP2 has changed. Would you tell us about the differences?

Both the old and the new cars are built on the Dallara chassis with a four-liter Renault V10 engine. The engine, as our engineers say, is pretty much the same, but totally modernized. And the chassis is a fundamentally different one, quite resembling last-year’s Formula 1 cars if you look at it. The new car became faster but not equally in all areas. The aerodynamics is better, the top-sped in corners is now higher, but the car is also more difficult to drive.

Can you be more detailed?

For example, the last year’s GP2 car allowed to drag in the braking, “continuing” it into the corner. The existing car does not allow that: you have to enter the corner, having already released the brake pedal, otherwise you slip with your front wheels outwards. We wanted to achieve habitual behavior from the new car and nothing worked out, that was just loss of time. On the other hand, it feels better now on the kerbs: you can attack them more aggressively.

The engine, as I feel it, improved, especially the mid-revs. But there emerged a very unpleasant peculiarity in the work of the «marking». Usually on reaching the revs’ limit the engine just stops further “spinning”. And here at about 10000—10500 revs/per minute it does not just «freeze» but loses 40% of power. If an overtaking is required, one needs to carefully look at the revs and not long before the “mark” drop the gas. Then – “full throttle” again, to give the car the necessary impulse. And in this way you proceed until the overtaking of your rival is done. That requires skill…

Now the GP2 cars have the aerodynamic scheme with a “high nose” and the overall front part became higher. Does that not hinder good visibility?

There are no such problems with my height. Real changes occurred with visibility in the mirrors. Previously you could have seen almost everything that was happening behind you. Now they placed them closer to the cockpit and changed the mirrors themselves. As a result they became almost useless. That brought a whole chain of stupid accidents, when the drivers simply couldn’t see each other. The organizators promise us to return things as they were for the next season.

Tell us how you and di Grassi work with the engineers.

We both - di Grassi and I - have our personal engineers. But of course we share information. Before the next round we sit at a table, the six of us: my engineer, my computer-man, Di Grassi’s «team» and I. We recall what was happening here last year, we analyze last year’s telemetry, watch the recordings of last year’s GP2 and Formula 1 races. For a free practice we usually apply different set-up for each car. And for the race we often choose similar set-up for the cars, having developed the best set-up from the previous work.

Even with an unsubject to changes chassis you cannot blindly copy the last year’s set-up, since everything plays an important role: air and track temperature, the state of the track cover, even the wind direction! For example, in Shanghai we chose the gear ratio for windless weather, and the wind had not calmed down to the beginning of the race. Everyone in front of me with better qualifying results took a risk and won from that.

And do you use computer simulation?

Of course, that is why every driver has a personal computer-man, who calculates the car’s possible behavior on track before the race. And then we may ask, for example: “And what if we make the first gear ”shorter”?” He would calculate that on a simulator and say whether this would benefit and what driving style changes would that require.

If after a practice you are to choose between two set-up options: one – more conservative but reliable, or other – quick but risky (for example – for the rain). What would your choice be?

That decision mainly depends on the racing engineer. If we are top-five after quali – we will try not to spoil things and take the existing good set-up as a base. Of course, we’ll try to improve it as well but through small changes, shifting for not more than three-four positions. If things are bad and we’re only top-ten – we’ll have to re-do things, sometimes to the ground.

You perform not only in GP2 but also in a feeder series GP2Asia. You even became second runner-up in results of the season. Are the cars there last year models?

True. But the engine there is “stiffed”: the limitator is shifted to about 9500 revs per minute, so that one engine would last six races.Верно. That is why the power is also humbler: about 450 h.p. comparing to 600 h.p. in the major series. And next year they promise to increase the power of engines in European GP2 up to 640 h.p.

Last season you tried yourself in sportprototype races (LMS, 24 hours of LeMans). Did you enjoy it?

In multi-hour races you have to think with your head: how to spare tyres and the brakes, how to save fuel. Often to achieve this objective significant changes in driving style are required. For example, in LeMans I was driving a Courage turbo prototype. Before a corner you can hold your gas pedal pressed to the floor to the last moment or release it at about a hundred meters before the braking point. The time difference is miserable but the amount of saved fuel is remarkable. That means your 45-minute shift can allow you to time more laps and deliver a better result.

There are many of such nuances in sportprototype races. You can attack the corners in a rough manner, “on the fringe” as I’m used to in “Formulae” and you can corner smoothly so as to save the brakes for an entire race. To put it in a nutshell, lasting races are in some respect more interesting. Had I more time and money, I would have gladly raced there for longer.

Don’t you miss “touring” after six years of open wheels?

Can’t say that, to be honest, but I would have gladly taken start at a track or elsewhere. Rally, for instance – I began with rally-sprints, but had no chance to compete in a true, “big” rally.

Interview by Vasily KOSTIN

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