Victory in Valencia for Wilson.
Justin Wilson celebrated his first victory of the year in Valencia yesterday in front of a 40,000 strong crowd in Round 14 of the Telefonica World Series. Wilson beat Brazil's Ricardo Zonta in the 26-lap feature race and it marked his second visit to the podium following his third place finish in Round 13 earlier in the day.
In qualifying on Saturday Justin finished the first session for Round 13 sixth fastest and was then narrowly pipped to pole for Round 14 by Zonta in the second session of the day.
"The first session wasn't the best, I had a miss-fire but I still ended up sixth," commented Wilson. "I was on pole for most of the second session and thought I had it but then Ricardo pulled out a quick lap right at the end. I thought my pole lap was the perfect lap but there we go, I was pleased to be on the front row."
Round 13 yesterday morning saw Justin capitalise on some first lap chaos as the Yorkshire racer moved from sixth up to fourth at the start following contact between his team-mate Franck Montagny and Bas Leinders. Zonta led the field into the first corner as pole sitter Ander Vilarino got too much wheelspin as the lights turned green. With Wilson in hot pursuit and up to third the trio then pulled away from the rest of the pack and the order remained the same for the 18-lap sprint race, despite a charge from Jonathan Cochet in fourth.
Speaking afterwards Justin reflected: "I made a good start and was up to fourth ahead of the collision between Bas and Franck. Thankfully the carnage was behind me allowing me to get on and race and I was quickly up to third. After that it was simply a case of holding position to the flag. I failed to finish at Valencia when the series kicked off here so it's nice to finish on the podium this time."
In a move that echoed the first race, Justin this time got the better of pole man Ricardo Zonta at the start of Round 14 and the former International F3000 champion led entering the first corner at Valencia. With little more than a few car lengths separating the battling duo it was Zonta who was first to stop as the pit-window came into effect. The ex-BAR F1 racer pitted four laps earlier than Justin but blew all hopes of gaining the advantage as he accidentally turned off his ignition switch while exiting the pits.
Wilson's stop in contrast was faultless and he maintained his lead over Zonta as they raced into the final stages. Justin claimed the chequered flag ahead of Zonta, who clinched the title in the process, with Jean Christophe Ravier rounding off the podium celebrations.
"It's a relief to finally win a race," enthused Wilson following his maiden World Series win. "It's been a long, frustrating season but now things seem to be coming my way. When we raced here earlier Ricardo was the man to beat and I was conscious he would be quick here today but my team really helped me out with a fantastic pit stop, it was seven seconds flat I think, tremendous!
I leapt straight into the lead at the start of the race and I managed to keep out of trouble. I emerged from my stop ahead of Ricardo and from there I was pretty comfortable to the flag. It was great to see the team on the pit wall as I crossed the line taking the win. The team has really come together with everyone gelling well and today's results are testimony to that!"
The series now heads to the Buenos Aires circuit in Argentina for Rounds 15 & 16 at the end of November.
Justin Wilson (GB) -- Car No.12 -- Racing Engineering / Dallara Nissan
Round 13 -- Qualified 6th / Finished 3rd
Round 14 -- Qualified 2nd / Finished 1st
Justin remains fourth overall in the Drivers Standings with 116 points. Zonta has sealed the Drivers Title courtesy of his win and second place finishes in Valencia, his points tally now totalling 244. Franck Montagny and Bas Leinders hold second and third respectively with 167 and 158 points.