Charles Pic has won an eventful opening race of the 2010 GP2 season at Barcelona this afternoon.
The rookie Frenchman moved into first place when previous leader Sergio Perez (Barwa Addax) was delayed by a slow pit stop, and survived a brief challenge from DPR's Giacomo Ricci to take Arden's first win since Edoardo Mortara's sprint race victory at the same circuit 12 months ago.
Ricci's second place was an equally memorable result for DPR, a team that scored precisely one point between 2007 and 2009, and has not won since the inaugural GP2 season in 2005.
Completing the podium was local favorite Dani Clos of Racing Engineering, who staked his claim to the position with a nice pass on Pastor Maldonado earlier in the race. Perez finished just off the podium, but any disappointment the Mexican might have been feeling would have been offset by the knowledge that some of his rivals had weathered an even tougher afternoon.
Chief among them were the ART pairing of polesitter Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird. Bianchi led into the first corner, only to collide with Racing Engineering's Christian Vietoris. Both cars were out of the race, while Bird was forced wide in the melee behind him and had to return to the pits for a new nose.
At that point he seemed out of contention, but the Briton produced a stunning drive from the back of the grid to haul himself back up to ninth at the finish, falling just 1.6sec short of taking the final point and sprint race pole from Ocean Racing's Fabio Leimer. While a 1.6sec gap might normally seem significant, the fact that margin had been 8sec just three laps earlier suggests that just one more lap could have made the difference.
Less fortunate in his progress through the field was Barwa Addax's Giedo van der Garde, who was dealt a 10sec penalty for leaving the pit exit after it had closed prior to the race, and then a drive-through for jumping the start.