Kovalainen Blitzes German Track Lausitzring, August 8 - The Pons Racing steamroller kept up its fine form today (Saturday) as Heikki Kovalainen converted poles into two dominant wins at the Lausitzring World Series by Nissan races. In...
Kovalainen Blitzes German Track
Lausitzring, August 8 - The Pons Racing steamroller kept up its fine form today (Saturday) as Heikki Kovalainen converted poles into two dominant wins at the Lausitzring World Series by Nissan races.
In the morning race, the Finnish driver was completely untroubled by two safety-car periods, although he had to fight to keep his position off the line.
Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) made a menacing getaway from third, but Kovalainen made sure he couldn't squeeze through. The block meant Tristan Gommedny (Saulnier Racing) nipped up Bernoldi's inside, but the Frenchman ran wide, leaving Bernoldi to lead the chase.
The only times Bernoldi got close were when the safety car came out (once for Narain Karthikeyan's spin and once when Didier Andre tangled with Pablo Donoso just after the first restart. But the order at the front did not change at any stage. The top three mostly had breathing space between them, but Tiago Monteiro (Carlin Motorsport) had strong pressure from Jean-Cristophe Ravier in the Epsilon Euskadi car, after the Portuguese driver had a poor getaway.
Monteiro held on to his place, with Spaniard Felix Porteiro completing a steady drive to sixth place, ahead of Kovalainen's team-mate Adrian Valles.
Kovalainen had to keep himself entertained with a succession of fastest laps as he again had no trouble in squashing the field in the second race. The Pons Racing driver was no doubt aware that there were competitors somewhere far behind him, but he barely had to give them a thought once he had dived into the first corner in the lead.
A struggling Monteiro helped Heikki's cause by holding up much of the field as he lay second (after a better start) in the early going. That meant that Kovalainen was ten seconds up by the time he needed to make his pitstop.
Monteiro was always going to lose places during the tyre changes, but did well to only get passed by Jean-Cristophe Ravier, who proceeded to run away into second position. That left Monteiro to fend off Enrique Bernoldi and Felix Porteiro in the second half of the race. The pressure finally told two laps from the end when the Portuguese driver let them both through with a trip onto the grass on the infield.
He returned to the track to claim fifth, ahead of Narain Karthikeyan, Juan Cruz Alvarez and Pablo Donoso. Kovalainen has now stretched his championship lead to 36 points and looks like the clear title favourite at the series heads to the next round at Estoril in September.
In the World Series Light events, it was again a question of one fairly uneventful race and one completely crazy one.
Miguez led away from pole position and dominated the opening race. Equally untroubled in second was Milos Pavlovic, although he had to get past Simon Abadie who overtook him at the start. Abadie was then hunted down by his Epsilon Sport team-mate Bastien Briere, who took the last podium spot.
But the Spanish driver lost his chance of a double after a terrible start in the second race. Or so it seemed. Miguez's near-stall allowed Pavlovic into the lead, from where he romped away to a nine-second lead. But then the Yugoslavian had to pull off with problems, before Lahaye retired and both Epsilon entries ran into trouble. That left the race as a fierce battle between Matteo Pellegrino and the recovering Miguez! But Pellegrino made no mistake and held on for an exciting win.