GP2

Monza: Race one report

Heikki gets his groove back Heikki Kovalainen won an action packed GP2 series race at Monza today, taking the chequered flag just 1.106 seconds ahead of his championship rival Nico Rosberg following a race-long duel. Nico however took two points...

Heikki gets his groove back

Heikki Kovalainen won an action packed GP2 series race at Monza today, taking the chequered flag just 1.106 seconds ahead of his championship rival Nico Rosberg following a race-long duel. Nico however took two points for setting the fastest lap of the race, meaning that the pair both add 10 points to their championship tally today. Nelson Piquet Jr was third, a further 11 seconds behind the two leaders.

Race Report. It was action from the word go, as Heikki led Nico and the rest of the field around the first lap. Giorgio Mondini stalled on the grid and with nowhere to go, his team-mate Olivier Pla made contact with the sister DPR car, putting both out of the race. After one lap behind the safety car in which all but the top six and last-placed Toni Vilander pitted, the race got back under way. Heikki led Nico and Nelson into the first turn while behind them Nico Rosberg and his team-mate Alex Premat touched, spinning Alex into the barriers and out of the race.

Nico's car was undamaged, and the German immediately set about catching Nelson and Heikki. He dispatched Nelson quickly and set after the Finn. On lap nine Nico pitted, just one lap before Heikki. The Finn emerged with a six second lead, following some slick pit work from the Arden squad. Nico was back out and storming, setting fastest lap en route to catching up with Heikki.

The pair stayed together, separated by just tenths of a second, for the remainder of the afternoon. Nelson meanwhile was being caught by Giorgio Pantano, however the Super Nova International driver cut the chicane at Turn One while lapping Toni Vilander and in so doing he set the quickest lap of the race. The time was subsequently taken from him and a drive through penalty was imposed, leaving him back in sixth place behind Nicolas Lapierre in fourth and Adam Carroll fifth from last on the grid. Neel Jani came seventh with Ferdinando Monfardini eighth, meaning the Italian will start his home race from pole tomorrow. Ernesto Viso will start from last place as a punishment for his part in an avoidable accident with Sergio Hernandez.

What about the Championship? Nico's fastest lap means he and Heikki both take 10 points from today's race to leave the Finn on 97 and the German on 88 points. Neither Scott Speed nor Alex Premat scored points today, and remain locked in third and fourth positions, with Adam Carroll fifth on 45 and Neel Jani on 42 points. ART Grand Prix maintain their lead in the teams' championship with 141 points, ahead of Arden International on 115 and Super Nova International with 84 points.

1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International.53:55.234

"This is a very nice victory. To beat Nico in a straight fight was a good feeling, and I was struggling a little bit with the rear grip, but I never gave up, which I'm very happy about. The main thing was not to make a mistake, and it isn't easy when someone is right on your backside!"

2nd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix. +1.163

"That was tough, a race with lots of incident! Getting fastest lap is great news though, as it means I keep the same gap to Heikki. It's becoming a lot of fun now because every time I go out I know I'm going to be up front and I know I'm going to be there fighting for victory."

3rd Nelson Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet Sports. +12.304

"I feel really good. It was a lucky race for me - Premat crashed, and Pantano cut the chicane. But the car felt good and was consistent. Tomorrow we're starting sixth, so I'll try to do my best at the start again and gain a few positions, and then let's see it's certainly not going to be easy."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Nelson Piquet , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Neel Jani , Sergio Hernandez , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Ferdinando Monfardini , Giorgio Mondini , Toni Vilander , Ernesto Viso
Teams ART Grand Prix , Arden International