Kovalainen Almost Champion Finn wins in front of 36,000 race fans Heikki Kovalainen is almost home and dry as the World Series by Nissan champion after taking his fifth victory of the season today at the Circuit de Catalunya. Kovalainen only...
Kovalainen Almost Champion
Finn wins in front of 36,000 race fans Heikki Kovalainen is almost home and dry as the World Series by Nissan champion after taking his fifth victory of the season today at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Kovalainen only lost the lead during the pitstop cycle, but when the final car had stopped the Finn had a comfortable advantage which he maintained right up until a late safety-car intervention. The field was unleashed for a one-lap sprint to the flag, but Kovalainen stayed calm on his way to victory.
"It went exactly as we planned," he said. "I made a good start and then for the first five laps I was waiting a little bit, trying to save the rear tyres. Towards the pitstop I started to push more and opened up a gap, and after the stop I got straight back to the same speed as before. It was a shame the safety car spoiled a big winning margin! But I had no problems and everything worked out perfectly for me."
Making it a brilliant race for Pons, Kovalainen's team-mate Adrian Valles took second place. The Spaniard came under a lot of pressure from Narain Karthikeyan before his pitstop, but a mistake in the pits dropped the Indian to fourth. The RC Motorsport man then chased Tristan Gommendy (Saulnier Racing) to the finish.
Juan Cruz Alvarez had a strong run to fifth for the Gabord Reyco team, while first-race winner Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) profited from the late collision between Enrique Bernoldi and Olivier Pla to move up to sixth ahead of Tiago Monteiro. Now Monteiro has only the slenderest of hopes of catching Kovalainen in the championship.
Milos Pavlovic took another win in the World Series Lights race to wrap up the 2004 title -- and become the first Yugoslav to win an international motor racing championship. The Vergani Formula star wins 180,000 Euros towards a World Series by Renault budget for next season for his prize. "I've never had such a good start to my budget!" he said. "I hope I can find a proper drive to do a good job in the World Series -- this is a very important day in my career."
After a first-corner crash forced out Matteo Pellegrino and Celso Miguez, Juan Antonio del Pino (Epsilon Sport) took second place from team-mate Simon Abadie.
<pre> WORLD SERIES PRIMERA CARRERA 1 Felix Porteiro Epsilon Euskadi 26'32.107 2 Heikki Kovalainen Pons Racing 1,261 3 Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 3,733 4 Tristan Gommendy Saulnier Racing 4,106 5 Narain Karthikeyan RC Motorsport 4,960 6 Sergio Hernandez Saulnier Racing 14,116 7 Juan Cruz Alvarez Gabrod Reyco 15,164 8 Jean-Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi 15,957 9 Olivier Pla Carlin Motorsport 28,176 10 Tiago Monteiro Carlin Motorsport 35,433 11 Pablo Donoso GD Racing 39,851 12 Didier Andre KTR 46,673 13 Giovanni Tedeschi Vergani Formula 52,988 14 Takaya Tsubobayashi Gabord Reyco 1'01.586 Retirements Giacomo Ricci Vergani Formula 10 lap Adrian Valles Pons Racing 5 lap Tomas Kostka RC Motorsport 1 lap
WORLD SERIES BY NISSAN SECOND RACE Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Pons Racing 39'41.762 Adrian Valles (ESP) Pons Racing 1.209 Tristan Gommendy (FRA) Saulnier Racing 1.930 Narain Kartikeyan RC Motorsport 2.260 Juan Alvarez (ARG) Gabord Reyco 3.591 Felix Porteiro (ESP) Epsilon Euskadi 4.946 Tiago Monteiro (POR) Carlin Motorsport 5.597 Didier Andre (FRA) KTR 12.280 Pablo Donoso (CHI) GD Racing 15.306 Sergio Hernandez (ESP) Saulnier Racing 16.129
CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD SERIES BY NISSAN
Drivers 1. H Kovalainen 169 2. T. Monteiro 110 3. E. Bernoldi 104 4. T. Gommendy 93 5. J. Ravier 84 6. N. Kartikheyan 67 7. J. Alvarez 61 8. F. Porteiro 56 9. O. Pla 48 10. A. Valles 39
Teams 1. Pons Racing 208 2. Carlin Motorsport 148 3. Epsilon Euskadi 135 4. Saulnier Racing 111 5. GD Racing 109