Oliver Pla made good use of his pole position advantage to score his first career victory in today's GP2 series sprint race at Silverstone, with Scott Speed and Heikki Kovalainen joining him on the podium.
The DPR team driver put his mind together to achieve the victory, with his rivals attacking until the chequered flag. "There was a lot of pressure", he noted.
Pla managed to handle in the fight with Speed, Kovalainen and company and kept the lead from flag to flag. "Before the safety car it was okay -- I could manage the gap to Piccione, but after the safety car I began to move the car and had a big degradation of my tyres, so that's the reason why I came back a bit to the others", explained the winner.
This victory was the first podium for Pla in GP2, surpassing a fifth place in San Marino as his best result. The other highlights of Pla's season has been to qualify fourth in Monaco.
The Frenchman has a hard first half of the year which might start to change from now on. "I hope that it's the beginning of the season for us now! I was so happy for every mechanic, for everybody on the team -- this win is for all of them. It is fantastic!", Pla said.
Pla now has seven points in the championship, moving him from 16th before Silverstone to 13th place in the standings.
American driver Speed gave the iSport team a reason to celebrate after a couple of bad races and a pointless streak dating back to Monaco.
About the competition itself, Speed comments his view. "Perfectly -- everything went exactly to plan. On the second lap I let Bruni and the leaders go and I was confident that I had a fast car, and sure enough I had a clear space and did fastest lap and got two points, and then I put pressure on the guys the whole race, and got by two of them".
"We've been quite unlucky, and even here in qualifying we were unlucky. We've been quick all year, obviously, and with a bit of opportunity a win is severely overdue".
Kovalainen is always there at the end, and, again, today's race two was no exception to the rule. The Finn took his eighth podium in the eleven races, and the championship is getting closer.
The Arden team driver started from seventh position due to his second place yesterday and from there tried to catch some more points for the weekend. "I managed to pass a few guys, which was good. A couple of times I was quite close to Scott Speed but I wasn't really able to pass him, because I didn't really have enough pace to overtake him", Heikki stated.
Kovalainen also fought with his other pursuer in the standings and the race one winner, Nico Rosberg. "It was too much to take the lead again, so the main thing was just to keep Rosberg behind me, because he's been quite strong this weekend and I needed to get some more points", he said.
Next challenge for the series and for Kovalainen himself is Hockenheim in two weeks, a circuit he doesn't know yet. "I'm sure I'll learn it - I'd never been to the Nurburgring or Monaco before and they were fine. It doesn't take too long normally to get up to speed with a new track", commented the Finn.
As has been the case since the season opener in San Marino, Kovalainen leads the championship, now with 64 points, 20 more than Rosberg in second. Speed is in third with 41, while Adam Carroll, 34, and Gianmaria Bruni, 33, completes top five places.