Zolder: Race one report

Salignon plays winning hand! L'équipe Interwetten.com a bien fait de parier sur Eric Salignon : le Français a remporté la première course de la World Series 2006 en résistant jusqu'au bout à Christian Montanari (Prema Power...

Salignon plays winning hand!

L'équipe Interwetten.com a bien fait de parier sur Eric Salignon : le Français a remporté la première course de la World Series 2006 en résistant jusqu'au bout à Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team). Le podium est complété par Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), qui a pris le meilleur sur Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) dans les derniers tours disputés en slicks sous une averse.

The Interwetten.com team was rewarded for putting their faith in Eric Salignon. The Frenchman won the first race of the 2006 World Series, holding off the attentions of Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team) right to the chequered flag. The third podium spot was taken by Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), who coped better on slicks than Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) in the closing laps of the race as rain began to fall.

The race got off to a frantic start, as Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) changed line several times before finally spinning in the middle of the field. The Spaniard was hit by Milos Pavlovic (Cram Compétition), Alessandro Bonetti (Jenzer Motorsport) and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport). A few corners further on, James Rossiter (Pons Racing) took the scenic route through the gravel trap, before making it back on to the track.

The safety car was brought out at the end of the first lap. At this point, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) was in control of proceedings ahead of Christian Montanari, Alx Danielsson, Borja Garcia, Enrico Toccacelo, JérÃ'me d'Ambrosio, Hayanari Shimoda, Robbie Kerr, Colin Fleming and Alvaro Barba.

The marshals quickly removed the cars from the track and the race resumed two laps later. Salignon and Montanari immediately pulled away. Barba snatched 9th place from Fleming, while Celso Miguez's race came to a premature end in the gravel trap.

Behind the two leaders, who were virtually inseparable, a group of three drivers formed featuring Danielsson, Garcia and Toccacelo. JérÃ'me d'Ambrosio dropped out of the top 10, after making a mistake. And then the talented young Belgian was handed a drive through penalty for not having started from the back of the grid despite stalling during the warm-up lap. As a result, Sean McIntosh (KTR) moved into the provisional points.

Christian Montanari was piling on the pressure on lap 9. But Salignon was holding him off. Alvaro Barba ran into difficulties, allowing Rossiter to get back into the top ten.

The gaps between the first six only really started to widen at the half-way stage. Attention then turned to the five strong group led by Shimoda (6th), Kerr, Fleming, McIntosh, Rossiter and Hanley. Hanley passed Rossiter on lap 19 to take 10th place.

Then rain made an appearance for the last two laps, making conditions extremely hazardous for the drivers. Borja Garcia then managed to snatch 3rd place from Alex Danielsson. Enrico Toccacelo lost 5th place on the final lap, and ended up being overtaken by Rossiter, Fleming, Kerr and Maldonado.

Even Salignon, who had by this time built up a comfortable lead, made a mistake, running wide on the final few corners. But the French driver managed to make it back onto the track in front of Montanari and to get past the finishing line in the lead!

Eric Salignon: "We started with cold tyres for the first time this weekend. I was trying to stay calm at the start and my strategy paid dividends. The car didn't have a lot of grip at the start, but then it got better and I was able to pull away."

Christian Montanari: "Second place is an excellent result. It demonstrates just how hard the team has been working. The points earned are precious."

Borja Garcia: "The car was good at the start but I was hit by another car and picked up a slow puncture one of the rear tyres. In the end, the rain worked in my favour."

The final race result is subject to the outcome of an appeal lodged by Eurointernational with the FIA. The appeal does not however affect the first four places.

-renault-0

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Robbie Kerr , Hayanari Shimoda , Eric Salignon , Christian Montanari , James Rossiter , Sean McIntosh , Borja Garcia , Celso Miguez , Milos Pavlovic , Alx Danielsson , Mikhail Aleshin , Alessandro Bonetti , Andy Soucek
Teams Carlin , Jenzer Motorsport