GP2

Kovalainen takes a superb victory in Nurburgring

Heikki Kovalainen was the protagonist of a great recovering to take the first race of the fourth double round that GP2 series disputed today in Nurburgring Circuit. Giorgio Pantano and Nico Rosberg completed the podium. After the third best...

Heikki Kovalainen was the protagonist of a great recovering to take the first race of the fourth double round that GP2 series disputed today in Nurburgring Circuit. Giorgio Pantano and Nico Rosberg completed the podium.

After the third best time set on yesterday qualifying session, a penalty due to the yellow flag issue put Kovalainen on 17th place of the starting grid for today's race. But this didn't seemed to be a problem for the Arden International driver, who with a good pit stop strategy and the capacity of the Finn in the track managed to recover until take his second victory of the season. "After the first corner I was ninth or tenth, and that's half the game right there, and then we had a good stop, nothing dramatic, the car was very good straight out of the pits, and I just put a few good laps in", explained the winner.

The early pit stop was the key of the Arden strategy to put his driver in the top of the field. "We discussed the strategy before the race. I was stuck in traffic straight away so we stopped", Kovalainen said.

One he made the obligatory stop in the pits, Kovalainen pushed hard from the back with a clear track ahead in what seemed qualifying laps. "Yes. That was the key - to be quick after the pitstop and to make the most out of the plan and jump the other cars. When we saw that we were ahead then we could control the race", he commented.

The Finn took revenge from Monaco where he started from the pole but a problem in the pits made him lost the race a week ago. Kovalainen proved he is the man to beat in the first season of GP2.

Pole sitter Pantano added his first podium in the series. Although the Italians's intention was to be in the highest position. "We lost the win today, and now we have to understand why the first ten laps was very slippery with understeer, oversteer, everything. That's where we lost the time compared to Kovalainen", was the explanation of Pantano.

Despite the Super Nova men drove fast after the stop, it wasn't enough to cut the five seconds gap with the leader. "I was very quick after this but just could not get passed Kovalainen", explainend the Italian while he added: "I tried and I was very close to him, but I could see into the corners that he was faster through them than me, and I couldn't stay close enough to overtake him".

However, after a complicated season start, the former Jordan driver in F1 proved his condition and must be note for tomorrow's sprint race.

A week ago in Monaco Rosberg took his fisrt podium in GP2. Before yesterday's penalty he was a candidate to the victory in Nurburgring. Finally, Rosberg started from 11th place but problems with the clutch made him stalled in the green lights. The German lost until last place which made decide his team to take an early pit stop. From that point the 19 years old inciate a recovering that saw him on third place at the end of the battle. "Everything went wrong that could go wrong", Nico said. "They took my second place from qualifying away from me because apparently it was under yellow flags. Then I stalled in the start because of difficulties with the clutch", Rosberg said.

About the race itself, the ART Grand Prix driver commented: "I came in early for a pit stop and I pushed really hard afterwards and overtook quite a few people. Eventually, I ended up third which was obviously a fantastic result for me, especially considering that at one stage I was dead last!".

Tomorrow's competition will have Rosberg on sixth place: "It offers really good chances to get into the points again. After that battle today I feel very motivated", he said.

Top eight places were completed by: Alex Premat, Nelson A. Piquet, Neel Jani, Cilvio Piccioni and Gianmaria Bruni.

Kovalainen has now 38 points, 11 ahead of Bruni and Scott Speed. Fourth place has Adam Carroll, 23, Rosberg, 18 and José María López, 17.

The teams standings has Arden in the top with 42, followed by Super Nova, 33, Coloni and ART Grand Prix, 30 and iSport, 29 in top five places.

The sprint race of GP2 will have place tomorrow before the F1 Grand Prix. Be ready for more action.

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Giorgio Pantano , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams ART Grand Prix , Arden International