Enrique Bernoldi celebrated his 25th birthday in perfect fashion by winning his first ever Superfund World Series by Nissan race at Valencia. The Brazilian passed Racing Engineering's Bas Leinders to win a thrilling race held in difficult wet conditions.
It was GD Racing's first ever win and Bernoldi was ecstatic with the result
"In the rain, races are a lottery - everybody has a chance. We had good set- up for the rain and I was able to push very hard. I had a nice clean fight with Besson and Leinders. It is a great result for me and the team after the tough start we had to the season."
Leinders led the race from pole, and had a comfortable advantage of almost three seconds in the early stages, until his lead was eroded when the safety car was called out. He held on at the restart, but when Bernoldi muscled his way by, Leinders was forced wide, allowing Saulinier Racing's Bruno Besson to take second.
Besson said: "I made a good start and was fourth at the first corner. I drove carefully and made up places when others went off the track. When the races are wet we are ok, it's in the dry we have a problem, but I am very happy to be on the podium."
Series champion Franck Montagny went off twice in the wet, but fought back to pass Leinders late on for another podium finish, just ahead of Ander Vilarino, who took advantage of Leinder's tyre troubles to take fourth.
Vilariño started on pole for race two and as in Barcelona, he made great use of this to quickly establish an early lead. Felix Porteiro (KTR) made a great getaway to take second, ahead of Vilarino's team-mate Ravier.
Ravier lost ground with a spin, but Vilarino was in a class of his own up at the front. The first driver to pit was Team Carlin's Narain Karthikeyan and this moved him into an eventual second place, as he lapped quickly on new tyres, gaining place after place as those in front made their mandatory stops, but it was not enough to stop Vilarino taking his second win.
Nevertheless, Vilariño took a penalty of 20 seconds for not respecting the pit stop procedure as he pited in Lap 19, and Kartikheyan exceeded the speed in the pit lane and did not respect a stop and go.
Polo Villaamil achieve his first victory in the Series, leaving second place for an unexpected Felix Porteiro and third position for Ravier. However, Trevor Carlin has declared that the team will appeal.
Montagny did not start the race due to a lack of available mileage on his engine but he managed to score some points in Race 1 as Kovalainen, and give the Teams Title to Gabord Competition.
WORLD SERIES LIGHTS
Juan Cruz Alvarez extended his championship lead with two excellent wins in the World Series Lights races at Valencia. In race one the Argentinean made a great start from pole position in tricky damp conditions and was never headed. Alvarez was pushed hard in the opening stages by Pablo Donoso, who made a fantastic start to take second going from sixth on the grid.
The lead pair held their positions through to the end of the race, but behind them there was chaos as conditions deteriorated. Alvaro Barba stalled on the grid, Epsilon by Graff's Julien Vidot and Meycom Reyco's Celso Miquez clashed, leaving Miquez stuck in the gravel.
When Adrian Valles pulled off at the end of the second lap, the field was reduced to just nine cars. As the rain got heavier, the track became increasingly slippery. Alvarez mastered the conditions, but others weren't so lucky. Mathias Lauda (Vergani Racing), Vidot and Ananda Mikola (RC Motorsport) all spun into retirement.
Milos Pavlovic (Epsilon by Graff) had a trip across the gravel too, but kept going and finished fourth. Third place went to RC Motorsport's Mateo Pellegrino. The Italian was the fastest driver on the track in the wettest conditions, and charged up the order to finish just six seconds behind the winner at the end. Vergani Racing's Mika Duno was the only other finisher, coming home fifth, two laps behind. It was her best result of the season.
The second race was even easier for Alvarez, who again led from start to finish. This time the race was held in the dry and Alvarez shot off the line, followed closely by Pavlovic. Vidot spun in turn two and this allowed the leading pair to break away from the chasing pack.
But Pavlovic could not match the pace of the championship leader and had to settle for second. Pellgrino again took third after a lonely race. The best fight was for fourth, which eventually fell to Barba after a great late surge took him past Lauda and Mikola.
Alvarez said: "I'm really happy with this result, because with these points are very important for me and the team. The races were not a problem for me as I made a good start in both. It's good to get such a result in a series as competitive as this."
SPANISH FORMULA JUNIOR
The rain stopped ahead of the Spanish Formula Junior race, but the track was still very wet, especially off line. This made for another entertaining contest. Pole sitter Roldan Rodriquez made a great start and looked set to repeat his victory in Saturday's event.
But the Porfesa Competicion driver would not cap a highly competitive weekend with a second win. His undoing was the safety car, which was brought out following a crash between Marco Barba and Fabio Onidi, which left both cars stranded on the track.
The caution period allowed the pack to catch Rodriquez and as the Spaniard sought to re-establish his lead he made a small error and ran wide and briefly over the gravel. He rejoined in fourth and battled back to third, but he was too far behind Cibiemme Team's Giacomo Ricci, who overtook Christian Cano at the restart and never looked back once Rodriquez had gifted him the lead.
Championship leader Juan Antonio del Pino (G-TEC) spun while challenging Cano for second early on, but fought back strongly and was able to take advantage of the safety car to work his way back into second and cement his position at the head of the standings.
Race 1 - Superfund World Series by Nissan Enrique Bernoldi 36.10.062 Buno Besson 1.645 Franck Montagny 2.940 Ander Vilariño 3.531 Bas Leinders 14.006 Heikki Kovalainen 17.668 Didier Andre 22.206 Angel Burgueño 24.055 Bruce Jouanny 31.375 Stephane Sarrazin 35.410 Santiago Porteiro 46.712
DNF Polo Viallamil + 7 laps Narain Karthikeyan + 7 laps Felix Porteiro + 8 laps Paul Edwards +13 laps José Perez Aicart +13 laps Jean Christophe Ravier +17 laps Norbert Siedler +17 laps Fast Lap : Stéphane Sarrazin 1'51.964
Race Two - Polo Villaamil 38'01.124 Felix Porteiro +1.569 Jean Christophe Ravier 1.914 Heikki Kovalainen 7.004 Bas Leinders 10.234 Ander Vilariño 17.565 Stephane Sarrazin 17.999 Enrique Bernoldi 19.299 Narain Kartikeyan 29.540 Paul Edwards 34.901 Didier Andre 46.085 Norbert Siedler 46.385 Jose Perez Aicart 1'20.966
DNF Santiago Porteiro + 5 laps Bruce Jouanny +17 laps Bruno Besson +25 laps Angel Burgueño +25
World Series Light Second Race Juan Cruz Alvarez 31'25.417 Pablo Donoso +4.439 Mateo Pellegrino +5.125 Milos Pavlovic +24.663 Milka Duno +2 lap Ananda Mikola +3 lap Julien Vidot +3 lap Celso Miguez +3 lap
No classified Adrian Valles +5 lap Mathias Lauda +9 lap Chanoch Nissani +13 lap Alvaro Barba +15 lap Fastest Lap: Milos Pavlovic 1'54.207
Second Race Juan Cruz Alvarez 28.35.065 Milos Pavlovic 0.267 Mateo Pellegrino 23.009 Alvaro Barba 28.189 Mathias Lauda 39.693 Ananda Mikola 39.777 Pablo Donoso 42.582 Celso Miguez +1 lap Milka Duno +1 lap Chanoch Nissany +1 lap
No classified Julien Vidot +4 lap Adrian Vallès + 5 lap Fastest Lap: Julien Vidot 1.32.467
CAMPEONATO DE ESPAÑA DE FORMULA JUNIOR Giaccomo Ricci 27'00.861 Roldan Rodríguez 2.606 Juan Antonio del Pino 4.535 Christian Cano 11.792 Javier Fernandez 15.247 Arturo Llobell 26.198 Marcos Martinez 33.449 Carlos Alvarez 33.674 Héctor Suarez 38.014 Marcos de Diego 42.681 Adrien Lavail 43.807 Michael Herck 44.947 Javier Villa 49.746 Borja Gª Mancera 1'00.097 Fastest lap: Javier Fernandez 2.03.943