GP2

Imola: Round two preview

GP2 series looks towards Imola This weekend the GP2 series returns to the scene of its first ever weekend of competition as the Class of 2006 prepares for Round Two of the current season at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy.

GP2 series looks towards Imola

This weekend the GP2 series returns to the scene of its first ever weekend of competition as the Class of 2006 prepares for Round Two of the current season at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. Following two fantastic races a fortnight ago at the season curtain-raiser in Valencia, expectations are running high for another enthralling weekend of action as the best young drivers in the world compete for glory in front of the Formula One fraternity and fans.

Come back to what you know: Following the relative uncertainty that faced the teams on arrival in Valencia at a new-for-GP2 track, Imola marks a step out of the unknown and back onto familiar territory. Last year's data will of course play a useful role for every team's set-up, but with a vastly different car at their disposal to the one raced in 2005, every circuit visited in 2006 will spring some new surprises and challenges. Slick tyres have made the cars faster and the reduction in rear-end downforce has made the cars much more intricate to set up.

As was seen in 2005, Imola is a hard-braking track with three major overtaking opportunities Tosa, Rivazza and the final chicane, Variante Bassa. Traditionally Imola is seen as a circuit on which overtaking is close to unfeasible, but in only its first weekend of competitive existence the GP2 series showed last year that passing is possible on the circuit. Indeed, Adam Carroll's move on Alex Prémat in Race 2 at Variante Bassa stuck long in everyone's memories, and the Ulsterman's tail-happy slide around the ART Grand Prix car was awarded with the prize for "Overtaking Manoeuvre of the Year" at the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation Winning Attitudes Awards 2005.

What about the championship? Following pole position, a Race 1 win, fourth place in Race 2 and fastest lap to boot, Nelson Piquet Jr is the early 2006 GP2 series leader. The Brazilian had an awesome first weekend in Spain to top the table on 16 points from Nicolas Lapierre who drove like a man possessed in the first race to take fourth place from 21st on the grid, setting Race 1 fastest lap along the way. The Frenchman took third in Race 2 to take his total for the weekend to 10 points. He heads GP2 series rookie Lewis Hamilton by a point, with Nicolas' team-mate Michael Ammermüller fourth on eight points after the German rookie finished seventh in Race 1 and then took a crushing win in only his second GP2 series start on Sunday.

Another GP2 series rookie, Adrián Vallés, sits in fifth place on six points in the standings after his third place in Race 1, with Ernesto Viso level on points to stand sixth. Gimmi Bruni is seventh on five points, with José María López the last driver to score points in eighth place on four.

In the battle for the teams' championship, Arden International holds the early advantage with 18 points, sitting just two ahead of Piquet Sports on 16.2005 GP2 series teams' champion ART Grand Prix is currently third on 9 points with iSport International and Campos Racing tied on six points. Trident Racing sits sixth with five points after its first ever weekend of competition, with Super Nova International the final team to score so far in seventh with four points.

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Adam Carroll , Nicolas Lapierre , Jose Maria Lopez , Adrian Valles , Ernesto Viso , Michael Ammermüller , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams ART Grand Prix , Trident , Campos Racing , Arden International