Renault F1 reserve driver Romain Grosjean has sealed pole position for the opening GP2 Asia race of the new season, beating Ferrari backup Jules Bianchi to top spot at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.

The Franco-Swiss racer competed for Renault in the latter part of 2009 but lost his seat at the team to Vitaly Petrov last year. He’s now back on their books as a reserve whilst also contesting both GP2 and GP2 Asia. Grosjean won the Asian series in 2008, his debut season in the category.

Bianchi has been promoted to Ferrari’s reserve driver role for 2011 and is among the favourites for both the Asian and main GP2 Series titles. He finished a little over four-tenths shy of Grosjean, with reigning GP2 Asia champ Davide Valsecchi third. The Italian is driving for the all-new AirAsia squad, owned by Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes.

Despite his troubled time at Renault Grosjean remains very highly rated in the F1 paddock, with Eric Boullier in particular known to have tremendous belief in the 24-year-old. Success in Asia, and particularly the main GP2 series, could yet see him return to the top-flight of motorsport in the future.

Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service