Swift Swiss seals sensational success. Neel Jani has won today's GP2 series race from Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano. The top three drivers were covered by just 1.7 seconds at the flag after a nail-biting battle. Alexandre PrÃ©mat came...
Swift Swiss seals sensational success.
Neel Jani has won today's GP2 series race from Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano. The top three drivers were covered by just 1.7 seconds at the flag after a nail-biting battle. Alexandre Prémat came from last on the grid to finish a fine fourth, with Nico Rosberg fifth, Ernesto Viso sixth, Olivier Pla seventh and Xandi Negrão in the final points-paying position of eighth after passing Adam Carroll on the final lap. Hiroki Yoshimoto sealed two points for fastest lap.
> Race report. Neel Jani and his Racing Engineering team's first GP2 series victory came at the end of a hard-fought 42-lap race. With temperatures soaring to over 35 degrees in the afternoon sun, track temperature rose to 50 degrees. Giorgio and Heikki were keeping each other in check behind Neel, and after their stops it was the Finn who emerged in second. Neel came in with just over half the race to go, and held the lead. He was able to pull out another gap, while behind the leaders Xandi was running fourth, ahead of an ever-enlarging group.
With Ernesto slicing his way into the top eight, Jose Maria Lopez spun at the final corner, bringing out the safety car. Hiroki pitted for new tyres, and when the race got back underway Neel managed to hold off the ever-quick Heikki. The last few laps saw a desperate struggle for position between the top three, and further back for the last points-paying positions. Neel crossed the line just inches ahead of Heikki, as Giorgio took his second podium in a row in third.
What about the championship? Heikki's second place and Nico's fifth place sees the gap between the championship rivals extend to ten points in the Finn's favour. Speed remains in third having failed to score points today, as Neel Jani takes fourth place ahead of Alex Prémat, both on 37 points. Carroll, Bruni and Lopez see out the top eight, although none of them scored today either. In the teams' battle, ART Grand Prix stay on top of the pile on 99 points, ahead of Arden International on 83. Super Nova International sit in third on 55, with iSport fourth on 38, Racing Engineering fifth on 34, and Coloni Motorsport on 26.
1st Neel Jani Racing Engineering.1:11.11.253
"I think at last we got there. We tried so many things that didn't work, and today it all came together. I have to say a really big thank you to the team because I think they made a huge step forward. Qualifying wasn't bad, and the race was really good. So now I don't see any problems for the future... but for now I'm just concentrating on today and I'm going to enjoy this one!"
2nd Heikki Kovalainen Arden International. +0.430
"I tried and tried until the end. Before the pitstop I was sort of struggling a little bit it didn't feel great but then we changed the tyres and it felt really good and I could push. It was close after Jani made his pitstop, and I initially lost a little bit to him when he had fresh tyres. Towards the end I could catch up a little bit but I just couldn't get past him."
3rd Giorgio Pantano Super Nova International. +1.739
"I think now we are back there at the top. Today we had a good chance to win the race but unfortunately I did a mistake after ten laps at the fast corner and I lost about five seconds. And that was that. I think for the people outside it was a great race, but inside it was very intense, very hot, and extreme for the body. But that's what we train for. It's our job."