WSR

Le Mans: Race two report

Pure Power! Robert Kubica mistimed his start allowing Will Power to go into turn one first ahead of Eric Salignon. In the field, Jaap Van Lagen (KTR) forced Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) off into the gravel trap. This collision also ...

Pure Power!

Robert Kubica mistimed his start allowing Will Power to go into turn one first ahead of Eric Salignon. In the field, Jaap Van Lagen (KTR) forced Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) off into the gravel trap. This collision also signalled the end of the race for Giorgio Mondini (Eurointernational), Daniel La Rosa (Interwetten.com) and Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering).

The safety car was called out and racing resumed three laps later. Will Power handled the restart perfectly and gained several lengths over Salignon, who himself had pulled away from Kubica. The Polish driver was himself under threat from Markus Winkelhock, Felix Porteiro, Colin Fleming, Christian Montanari, Patrick Pilet and Enrico Toccacelo.

As Tristan Gommendy became the first driver to come into the pits for the mandatory rear tyre change (lap 5), Patrick Pilet moved ahead of Montanari, and Toccacelo lost two places to Andreas Zuber and Adrian Valles.

Meanwhile, there was plenty going on in the pits: among the leaders, those to make a stop were Toccacelo, Montanari and Winkelhock. Fernando Rees' (Interwetten.com) debut week-end in the World Series ended in disappointment as he went out into the gravel trap on lap 7.

Eric Salignon and Felix Porteiro made their stop on lap 9. Of the favourites, Power, Kubica, Fleming and Valles stayed out. Kubica made his stop on the next lap, and Power followed suit a lap later.

Colin Fleming and Adrian Valles took over control of the race as a result but the Californian and the Spaniard had yet to make their stop. With a lead of 20'' over a group consisting of Power, Kubica, Salignon and Winkelhock, it seemed obvious that the it would only be a matter of time before the lead changed hands again. But Fleming and Valles were able to enjoy the limelight until lap 17.

Then, as was to be expected, Will Power regained control of the race. But with a lead of only 5/10ths over Kubica, the race was far from decided! Colin Fleming moved into third place thanks to his late stop strategy. Salignon was lapping out on his own in fourth while Winkelhock had to watch out for Montanari and Valles.

Having set himself the target of setting the fastest lap, Jaap Van Lagen came back into the pits once his job was done, after putting in a time worthy of a qualifying lap!

It was the last notable incident of a race which ended in a victory for a seventh winner in seven races! By finishing in second, Kubica consolidates his place as Championship leader while Colin Fleming takes his first podium spot of the season.

Will Power: "I got off to a very good start and was able to push very hard during the opening lap because I was on fresh tyres. I decided not to wait too long to make my stop and managed to come back out in the lead. It's my first victory in three years!

Robert Kubica: "Second is still a good result. Compared to Will and Eric, my start was nothing special. My first set of tyres were pretty worn and I wasn't able to push very hard in the opening laps. But I've got the points and that's the way I want things to continue in the Championship."

Colin Fleming: "This result has been a long time coming. We knew we had the potential to do it. Today, I ran the risk of opting for a late stop strategy and the team put in some excellent work to ensure it paid off."

-wsr-

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