Max ChiltonMax Chilton and Rio Haryanto completed a successful opening weekend in the 2012 GP2 Series, finishing seventh and tenth respectively in the Sprint race this morning. Marussia Carlin driver Chilton started sixth and was involved in several close battles on his way to seventh place and his second points finish of the weekend. Team mate Rio Haryanto finished in the top ten and claimed his first GP2 points for fastest lap.

Following his podium finish yesterday, Chilton lined up sixth on the grid today for the first reverse grid race of the season. With only the top eight reversed, Haryanto started in his finishing position from race one, in 12th place. At the start Chilton took the inside line at the first corner and found himself swamped as several cars took to the outside, and had dropped to 10th by the end of the first lap. Team mate Haryanto also suffered a similar start and dropped a couple of places from his 12th place grid slot.

Chilton was quick to fight back however and was a constant presence in the mirrors of Davide Valsecchi in the fight for eighth, while Haryanto was 14th. The 19 year-old Indonesian was soon making progress however, and had moved up to 13th on lap four and 12th just a few laps later due to a drive through for Fabrizio Crestani.

The fight between Chilton and Valsecchi continued for several laps, while Haryanto continued to make progress. The GP3 graduate was less than 10 seconds behind the leader on lap 11.

Chilton meanwhile was involved in more close racing as Valsecchi closed in on Luiz Razia in the fight for seventh. While Valsecchi and Razia were wheel to wheel and preoccupied with their own fight, Chilton seized the momentum to close in behind the duo. As Valsecchi ran wide, Chilton was in the perfect position to take advantage and snatch eighth, and put under pressure a recovering Razia.

Chilton’s next battle came as Razia closed in on Stefano Coletti. Again, Chilton was ready to take advantage of the squabble ahead, but ran wide which allowed Nathanaël Berthon through and pushed Chilton down to ninth.

Haryanto meanwhile had quietly been making his own progress and was now just behind Chilton in 10th place. Chilton was on the move again and a lap later re-passed Berthon for eighth and started chasing down Coletti again. With three laps remaining Chilton passed Coletti for seventh.

The action continued right to the line for Haryanto, who was wheel to wheel with Josef Kral before being involved in a close tussle and pit straight drag race with Tom Dillmann. Haryanto held on, taking 10th place by just 0.053 seconds from Dillmann. Highlighting his potential in the series, Haryanto also recorded the fastest lap to claim two championship points – his first in the GP2 Series.

“It was a very exciting race”, said Chilton “and again our pace was good. The car was brilliant and I raced as hard as I could. With some clear air I could have shown how fast the car really was, but the racing was great fun. I’m really looking forward to Bahrain!”

Haryanto was also happy with his performance commenting, “It was a fun race today, my start wasn’t so great but the car was quick and I pushed hard to make up the places. To get two points for the fastest lap is great and I think completes a good first weekend in the series. I can’t wait to get on the track again in Bahrain.”

Trevor Carlin added, “To have two cars in the top ten and score points today shows the step forward the team have made over the winter. We have a quick car and two drivers who clearly – based on their performances today – are real racers, which is the perfect combination for any team. Max and Rio have been fantastic this weekend.”

The GP2 Series continues in Bahrain from 20 – 22 April.