Sushi time for Kobayashi! The first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race was held on a soaked but rapidly drying track. After having got the better of Yann Clairay (SG Formula), Kamui Kobayashi (Prema Power Team) went on to take his second victory...
Sushi time for Kobayashi!
The first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race was held on a soaked but rapidly drying track. After having got the better of Yann Clairay (SG Formula), Kamui Kobayashi (Prema Power Team) went on to take his second victory of the season. Filipe Albuquerque took the first podium of the 2005 season for the local Motopark Oschersleben team.
The race started on a track that had been soaked by the downpour that struck just before Heikki Kovalainen took to the track in the Renault F1 R24. Yann Clairay got the best start from pole and went into the first bend in the lead ahead of Kamui Kobayashi. The first lap was very hotly contested between Filipe Albuquerque and Michael Ammerm0x00fcller (Jenzer Motorsport). The two drivers ran into each other and Ammerm0x00fcller also lost the best part of the front of his car in the incident.
The action didn't stop there: Cyndie Allemann (SL Formula Racing) went off into the gravel, Patrick Rocha (Prema Power Team) collided with Juan Antonio del Pino (Epsilon Euskadi), Adrian Zaugg (Jenzer Motorsport) crashed into the wall and Kasper Andersen (Team Formula Sport) made a mistake which looked certain to cost him dear!
In the meantime, Kobayashi had put some track between himself and Clairay. They were followed by Carlo Van Dam (SG Formula), Albuquerque, Alan Hellmeister (JD Motorsport), Daniel Serra (Cram Comp0x00e9tition), Hiroyuki Mastumura (Graff Racing), Dima Raikhlin (SL Formula Racing) and Michael Aleshin (Lukoil Racing Team).
The safety car had to be called out at the end of lap one. Ammermecller managed to limp back to the pits and the Jenzer Motorsport set to work repairing the Eurocup leader's Formula Renault 2.0. Tom Dillmann (Cram Comp0x00e9tition) broke down while lapping behind the safety car, which peeled off at the end of lap 4.
From the restart, Matsumura span his car in the first bend! Immediately, Kobayashi and Clairay opened up a gap over the field led by Van Dam. By this time, the racing line was clearly drying out and Clairay was looking faster than Kobayashi. The Frenchman tried to put the Japanese driver under pressure, but off the racing line the track was still too wet to overtake.
Back in seventh, Junior Strous picked up a 'drive through' penalty for overtaking Aleshin while the safety car was out. But the Dutchman was involved in a collision a few laps later and abandoned the race.
In the main field, Raikhlin, Albuquerque and Hellmeister all made it past Van Dam, who fell back to 6th. At the front, Kobayashi was extending his lead over Clairay lap by lap. Albuquerque and Hellmeister then passed Raikhlin: the podium was far from decided! Hellmeister and Raikhlin collided on lap 12, allowing Van Dam and Sergei Afanasiev (Lukoil Racing Team) back into the top 5!
But they weren't counting on Kasper Andersen who made a legendary comeback: after having switched to slicks, the Dane scythed through the field, moving up from last to fifth! As a result, Van Dam ended up in sixth and Afanasiev in fourth.
Kamui Kobayashi: "I'm very happy... and lucky! After having difficulties in qualifying, I managed to drive a good race."
Yann Clairay: "This race will do me good in the Championship standings. I got off to a mediocre start and took the first bend badly. My car was performing less and less well as the race went on and I was unable to stay with Kamui."
Filipe Albuquerque: "It's been a perfect week for me, with some good results in the German Championship and my first Eurocup podium. But it wasn't an easy race. It was my first race ever in the wet!"