Ricardo Zonta signs two victories at home.
Montagny strengths his distance 14 points ahead of Leinders, both will battle for 2nd place in Sao Paulo.
New fastest lap in Curitiba for Leinders in a circuit full with 25.000 spectators.
Curitiba, 1 December 2002 ? Ricardo Zonta crossed the line first in both races at home, in the eighth round of the Telefónica World Series by Nissan hold at Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba (Brazil). The changing weather was an upset guest in this round: a bright sun shined in race 1, but rain obliged to declare race 2 wet. The heat during the race dried the track and the teams changed to dry tyres in the compulsory pit stop. Montagny has stretched his advantage from 9 to 14 points ahead of Bas Leinders, who jumped on the podium just in the second race. : The spectators carrying 1 kg of food had free access: organisers picked 1.600 kg. The food will be destined to a campaign named "Christmas without hunger". Next meeting will take place at Sao Paulo newt weekend.
Ricardo Zonta, who drives a car with the colours of F.C. Barcelona football team, set a searing pace and pulled away from Andre Couto and Justin Wilson. Franck Motagny strengths his distance in second place in Championship standings ahead of Bas Leinders.
Ricardo Zonta won the opening 22-lap race, which was determined by two incidents: in lap 3, the Mexican Roberto González went off into the gravel and obliged the safety car to appear. When it disappeared, the Brazilian Tuka Rocha, the youngest driver with 19 years, escaped unhurt after slammed his Gabord Competicion car into the tyrewall. His team was working hard to repair his car.
A lightning start and blinding pace at the restart allowed Zonta to win his 8th victory of the season in a track full with 25.000 spectators. Behind him, Andre Couto and Justin Wilson made their best efforts for the second place. The Macao driver came through it thanks to an impressive performance. Narain Karthikeyan, who had gear box problems in warm up, run as high as fourth place ahead of Antonio García, Franck Montagny and Polo Villaamil.
Bas Leinders, who started from the back row due to a problem with the gearbox in qualifying session, entered boxes at 2 lap and rejoined race 13 laps after changing tyres to obtain the fastest lap.
Jaime Melo, current champion of the Euro F3000 Championship, has done a step forward in his racing career with his debut in the Telefónica World Series by Nissan. He finished 15th.
The race was declared wet due to the heavy rain minutes before. Peter Sundberg didn't start due to illness. Karthikeyan, who started very well in pole position, leaded the second race until second lap when he was overhauled by Ricardo Zonta who took the first place and won without suffering. This was his 9th victory of the year. Minutes later, the Indian driver made two trips into the gravel trap at lap 3 and 4 and this ruined the whole weekend.
Andre Couto also flew off the road and was obliged to retired. Montagny steadily pulled away thereafter to the second place followed by Antonio García, Justin Wilson, Bas Leinders and Polo Villaamil.
The mandatory pit stop was crucial as usual. Zonta just spent 11 seconds and restart the track in first place leading to finish once again.
Montagny wasted time but lied second while the Belgium Leinders challenged him. Wilson climbed to fourth position ahead of the Spanish Villaamil and García.
Montagny and Leinders battled for the second place but the Belgium spun 10 laps before the finish and the French pulled away. Leinders maintained third place due to the big advantage ahead of Wilson, who finished fourth. The Spanish drivers crowned an excellent weekend with 5th and 6th place. The debut of US driver Paul Edwards was really good, he reached the 7th position.
Early this morning, Zonta has been homaged by the authorities of the circuit of Curitiba. The Brazilian driver has uncovered a plate that homages his racing career and specially the first title achieved in the Telefónica World Series by Nissan
The next meeting will take place at Circuit of Interlagos at Sao Paulo (Brasil) on 8 December.
"I wanted to make a good performance in front of my supporters, I'm very proud of them. In second race, my team made and impressive pit stop, we changed the four tyres in just 11 seconds. Congratulations to them".
"We changed the engine on Saturday, so it didn't work really well in race 1. In second race, with the difficulties due to rain, Y managed quite well, I only regret that our pit stop has not been good enough. I'm happy but this has not been a perfect weekend".
"I have had gear box problems during the whole weekend. In first race I waited at box to see Zonta's best lap and Y restarted later to reach two points for best lap. I'm convinced to win in Sao Paulo both races if I'm lucky".