PrÃ©mat revives ART's weekend Alex PrÃ©mat took his first GP2 series victory today ahead of his ART Grand Prix team-mate Nico Rosberg, and Super Nova International's Giorgio Pantano. The Frenchman won despite two safety car periods which saw the...
Prémat revives ART's weekend
Alex Prémat took his first GP2 series victory today ahead of his ART Grand Prix team-mate Nico Rosberg, and Super Nova International's Giorgio Pantano. The Frenchman won despite two safety car periods which saw the race finishing on the 45-minute mark, rather than at its usual 120km conclusion. Yesterday's winner Neel Jani took fourth place, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Nicolas Lapierre. Clivio Piccione took the fastest lap on the very final tour.
Race report. The ART pair were handed an early present when polesitter Xandi Negrao stalled on the warm up lap. They slotted in immediately behind front row starter Olivier Pla, and Ernesto Viso. Olivier's command of the Sunday race is becoming his calling card, and he led Ernesto easily until the Venezuelan pulled into the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. The ART Grand Prix cars gratefully received second and third positions from the BCN Competicion driver.
On lap six, Jose Maria Lopez lost the rear of his car and spun into the wall, prompting the first safety car. After four laps the cars were released, and Olivier once again pulled out a margin over Alex. Giorgio Pantano was hanging onto Nico's tail, and behind the Italian, Neel Jani and Heikki Kovalainen reignited their battle of yesterday. The front order remained the same until lap 16, when Olivier suddenly slowed and pulled off to the side of the road with an electrical fault. He couldn't get far enough away from the track, however, and the safety car was deployed once again. Clivio Piccione jumped into the pits to replace a damaged nosecone, and set off in clean air to set the quickest lap of the race once the safety car had pulled in. But up front, and with the 45-minute race coming to a finish, Alex held on for his first win.
What about the championship. Heikki's championship tally rises to 79 points today, as he keeps his lead from Nico on 72. Scott remains third on 50 points, ahead of Alex on 43 and Neel on 40 points. ART Grand Prix now have 115 points to Arden International's 92. Super Nova International are third on 62, with iSport International on 52, Racing Engineering on 44 and Coloni Motorsport sixth with 36 points.
1st Alexandre Prémat ART Grand Prix.45:05.029
"I did a good race, and for sure there was big pressure from Nico, so it is really nice for me to win. At the start of the weekend it was really hard after being disqualified. Today we are first and second this is really perfect for the team, and for the championship, and for me also because I am now fourth in the championship and not so far off Speed."
2nd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. +0.404
"I wasn't really happy with the race pace of the car it was a similar situation to Silverstone. In Hockenheim we had a really good race pace, but in Silverstone and here it wasn't great. We made a good step for the race today, and I was able to push and have confidence in the car, and you could see today that it looked good on track and we were really quick."
3rd Giorgio Pantano Super Nova International. +1.984
"I think today we did another very good race. For sure we were a little bit lucky about Negrao, Viso and Pla, but to be honest we had a good car. Unfortunately if you're not in the lead at this track you have no chance to overtake. Now we go to Turkey. It's a new track for everybody, but I'm convinced we'll still be at the front."