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A-1 Ring race notes/results

Montagny and Gabord Competición on verge of championship success Leinders and Montagny share Austia wins Bas Leinders was probably the happiest man at the A1-Ring on Sunday night after a weekend of mixed fortunes for most...

Montagny and Gabord Competición on verge of championship success
Leinders and Montagny share Austia wins

Bas Leinders was probably the happiest man at the A1-Ring on Sunday night after a weekend of mixed fortunes for most of the Superfund World Series by Nissan runners. The Belgian proclaimed himself happy with a win and a second in the Austrian rounds of the series. Franck Montagny could only manage one victory today after jumping the start in the first race, but has done more than enough to be sure that he is likely to take the championship in the next round at Barcelona.

Leinders started the first race from pole position and was beaten to the first turn by Montagny. He didn't need to worry too much about that, however, because Montagny had flown the start by a mile and soon had to give up his lead and take a stop-go penalty in the pits. This left Leinders with a comfortable advantage over his team-mate Stéphane Sarrazin, which he held until the end of the 18-lap sprint race.

Ander Vilariño followed the two Racing Engineering drivers home in what was an uneventful race for the first three drivers. Fourth place was initially held by Bruce Jouanny, but the Frenchman made a mistake and spun into the gravel at the chicane on lap eight.

That left fourth to be disputed by Enrique Bernoldi and Bruno Besson. Besson pressured Bernoldi hard at times during the race, but could never find a way past. Their fight wasn't nearly as fierce as the one between Norbert Siedler and the charging Montagny.

Montagny had emerged from his penalty just behind team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who offered little resistance. Soon Franck was on Siedler's tail and tried his utmost to get past. He could hardly have been closer on the last lap and had a couple of promising looks, but ultimately had to give best to the local favourite and settle for seventh.

Narain Karthikeyan had the expected rough time after starting from the back. But the Carlin man did much better from third on the grid in the second race, when he jumped up to second behind Montagny, who this time made a very good but legal start. Pole-sitter Bruce Jouanny didn't have a very good getaway and dropped to third, with Bas Leinders giving him a very hard first stint indeed.

Leinders was clearly much quicker but couldn't find a way past. The Belgian made a tactical early pit stop and simply flew round the track once he had some clear air. There was never any doubt that he was going to emerge in front of Jouanny after the Frenchman stopped, but he also had the bonus of passing Karthikeyan for second when the Indian spun just before his own stop.

Bas did not stop there and charged after Montagny like a feral mongoose. But the Gabord driver was equal to the pressure and kept the Belgian behind him. He won by less than half a second.

Fifteen seconds behind them was an even more intense battle. Karthikeyan had dropped behind Jouanny with his off-track excursion, but was now locking wheels and generally looking wild in his bid to get back on the podium. You couldn't say he didn't try hard, but he too had to accept his lot. He was fourth, just over half a second back from his team-mate.

Bruno Besson had another distant but impressive fifth place after starting ninth. Kovalainen had a slightly better second race, finishing sixth, but Sarrazin's afternoon was far worse than his morning. He started sixth and finished seventh.

Jouanny: "Race one wasn't so good because the morning conditions didn't seem to suit us this weekend. I made a mistake and spun.it was my fault. This afternoon I made another bad start. It was hard to keep Bas behind me because he was much quicker. We had a good pitstop and then I had my team- mate behind me after he had spun. So there were a few spins for Carlin today!

Vilariño: "I'm very happy since this is my first time at the A1-Ring and the team did a super job. We had really good speed in the first race but in the second race we both had problems with the rear of the car. I spun twice and Jean-Cristophe spun three times."

Leinders: "I'm very happy with this performance. Like I have said we are only fighting for second in the championship and it's very pleasing to be back in the fight. We had the fastest car all day today and I scored more points than any other driver this weekend."

Montagny: "It was a good weekend considering we didn't test here last week. It's an unusual track and there is no grip, so it was hard too find a setup. I moved a little before the green light in the first race. It was an unfortunate mistake but that's racing. It happens sometimes. Narain pressured me a lot at the start of race two but made some little mistakes that gave me some breathing space. And then Bas was on my tail very quickly at the end, which was difficult. We're testing in Barcelona this Friday, and we are looking good to take the title at the next race in Catalunya

<pre> Superfund World Series by Nissan Race One: Bas Leinders (Racing Engineering) 25m03.648s Stephane Sarrazin (Racing Engineering) +7.766s Ander Vilariño (Epsilon Euskadi) +10.343s Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) +18.524s Bruno Besson (Saulnier Racing) +20.842s Norbert Siedler (Superfund Zele Racing) +23.166s Franck Montagny (Gabord Competition) +23.464s Heikki Kovalainen (Gabord Competition) +26.044s Polo Villaamil (RC Motorsport) +37.818s Didier Andre (Saulnier Racing) +41.780s Angel Burgueño (Repsol RFS Vergani) +42.709s Felix Porteiro (KTR) +44.458s José Manuel Perez Aicart (Adrian Campos) +61.939s Santiago Porteiro (Adrian Campos) + 9 laps (not running) Narain Karthikeyan (Carlin) + 9 laps (not running) Bruce Jouanny (Carlin) +11 laps (not running) Jean Cristophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) +13 laps (not running) Vitantonio Liuzzi (RC Motorsport) +13 laps (not running) Paul Edwards (KTR) +13 laps (not running)

Superfund World Series by Nissan Race Two: Franck Montagny (Gabord Competition) 36m37.322s Bas Leinders (Racing Engineering) +0.446s Bruce Jouanny (Carlin) +15.037s Narain Karthikeyan (Carlin) +15.685s Bruno Besson (Saulnier Racing) +19.109s Heikki Kovalainen (Gabord Competition) +20.044s Stephane Sarrazin (Racing Engineering) +21.195s Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) +21.980s Vitantonio Liuzzi (RC Motorsport) +23.977s Norbert Siedler (Superfund Zele Racing) +31.506s Felix Porteiro (KTR) +35.956s Didier Andre (Saulnier Racing) +40.443s Polo Villaamil (RC Motorsport) +47.242s Angel Burgueño (Repsol RFS Vergani) +49.020s Ander Vilariño (Epsilon Euskadi) +49.607s Jean Cristophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) +3 laps Paul Edwards (KTR) + 6 laps (not running) José Manuel Perez Aicart (Adrian Campos) +20 laps (not running) Santiago Porteiro (Adrian Campos) DNS (did not start)

Driver Standings: Montagny 197 Kartikeyan 90 Sarrazin 89 Leinder 88 Kovalainen 84 Besson 75 Jouanny 59 Gené 54 Ravier 51 Vilaiño 47 Benoldi 37 Villaamil 34 Siedler 25 Edwards 17 Rocha 12 S.Porteiro 8 F.Porteiro 8 Burgueño 8 Pereira 7 Gonzalez 3 Liuzzi 2 André 1

Team Standings: Gabord Competición 281 Racing Engineering 177 Tata Team Motorsport 149 Epsilon Euskadi 98 Saulnier Racing 76 Adrian Campos Motorport 62 RC Motorsport 57 Superfund Zele Racing 37 KTR 25 GD Racing 23 Repsol RFS Vergani 11

-rpm-

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