GP2

Catalunya: Round four preview

GP2 series back under Spanish skies The GP2 series makes its return to Spain this weekend for Round Four of the 2006 season. With five winners from the first six races, and the top three in the championship separated by just two points, this ...

GP2 series back under Spanish skies

The GP2 series makes its return to Spain this weekend for Round Four of the 2006 season. With five winners from the first six races, and the top three in the championship separated by just two points, this year is already shaping up to be an epic contest for title glory. As the GP2 series makes its second appearance in Spain for 2006, the battle at the front couldn't be closer, and as we return to a track on which every driver has had experience in testing, we should be set for yet another close weekend of action.

Come back around: They say that if you have a good car at Barcelona, you'll have a good car everywhere. So tricky is it to find the optimum set-up here, with the circuit's combination of high, medium and slow speed corners, long and short straights and heavy braking zones, that those who tend to go quickly here will have the best base set-up to take everywhere with them. It's one of the reasons so many F1 teams test at this track, it's why we test at this track, and after the proximity of last weekend's qualifying session, every team knows how tough the battle is going to be here this weekend on a track that is so well known.

There is genuine pressure being felt the length of the field after the first three rounds. At the top Nelson Piquet Jr had a disappointing weekend in Germany, and is now followed closely in the championship race by Lewis Hamilton who won both races last time out, and Nicolas Lapierre who has still to get the monkey of not winning a GP2 series race off his back. All three will be gunning for glory in Barcelona. Gimmi Bruni, Ernesto Viso and Michael Ammermüller have all won races and are also desperate to fight back to the top of the podium. Meanwhile, Alex Prémat, José María López, Hiroki Yoshimoto and Adam Carroll have all shown they have the potential to win, and are desperate to do so... soon.

This weekend the GP2 series also welcomes back one of the paddock's most colourful characters, as Giorgio Pantano makes his debut for Petrol Ofisi FMS International. The Italian team has ceased its relationship with Luca Filippi, and Giorgio, as a regular podium visitor in 2005 and a driver with a wealth of experience at this level, is sure to make an instant impression.

What about the championship: Despite only scoring two points for pole last weekend in Germany, Nelson still leads the battle for the drivers' championship on 27 points, ahead of Lewis on 26 and Nicolas on 25. Behind them Ernesto ties with Gimmi on 19 points for fourth, with Michael sixth on 17 points. Alex and José are tied for seventh on 13 points, with Hiro ninth on nine points and Adam tenth on eight.

In the teams' championship Arden International leads on 42 points ahead of ART Grand Prix on 39. Piquet Sports is third on 29 points, with iSport International and Trident Racing tied for fourth on 19 points. BCN Competicion are sixth on 14 points, ahead of Super Nova International on 13 points, Racing Engineering on eight, Campos Racing on seven and Petrol Ofisi FMS International on two points.

-gp2

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Adam Carroll , Hiroki Yoshimoto , Jose Maria Lopez , Luca Filippi , Ernesto Viso , Michael Ammermüller
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering , Trident , Campos Racing , Arden International