Gommendy at the wire From start to chequered flag, the final outcome of the second World Series race of the weekend was held in the balance. After a perfect start to his race, Zuber's chances were ruined when the Safety car was brought out. Then...
Gommendy at the wire
From start to chequered flag, the final outcome of the second World Series race of the weekend was held in the balance. After a perfect start to his race, Zuber's chances were ruined when the Safety car was brought out. Then Kubica appeared to have wrapped up victory, but he was forced to abandon due to an electrical problem. It was left to Tristan Gommendy (KTR) to record his first win of the season, in front of Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Eric Salignon (Cram Competition).
Starting on the front row, Winkelhock was left stuck on the starting grid. All the drivers behind him managed to avoid running in to his car. The first two laps were incredibly hectic, with a series of incidents. Fukuda ran his car across into the gravel pit on the first bend. Pavlovic also went off, but he was unable to get away again. Gommendy and Fleming scrapped it out in a fierce duel. Toccacelo came into the pits, while his team mate Kostka clashed with Van Lagen. La Rosa flirted with the gravel pit and Porteiro span, hitting the barriers.
Meanwhile, Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) had taken the lead from pole position. The Austrian was ahead of Salignon and Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi).
>From the 5th lap onwards, several drivers decided to come in for their mandatory pit stop: Gommendy, Pagenaud, Pasini, Power and Montanari were among the first to change their rear tyres! Separated by less than 5 seconds', Zuber, Salignon and Kubica pulled out all the stops to try and build up a big-enough lead to go for their stop. Fleming was in 4th place, 10 seconds back of the leader. Raffaele Giammaria and Frederic Vervish found themselves in 5th and 6th positions!
Salignon came in on lap 9. By the time he was back on the circuit, he was in 5th and first among those drivers who had already stopped! Then it was Kubica's turn to pit, two laps later. The Polish driver came back out in 3rd, ahead of Salignon. Finally, Zuber and Fleming made their stops, Fleming taking advantage of a clear track.
Vervish and Giammaria ran into one another, while at the same time, Tedeschi put his car in a spin. The Race Director decided to bring out the Safety car. At that point, Zuber held a 15-second lead over Fleming and Kubica was 35 seconds behind. The Safety car went off after just one lap, but the gaps had been reduced to a few seconds. Zuber made his pit stop on the 16th lap, but he knew the race was lost for him. It was then left to Fleming to lead for two laps before he took his turn to come into the Pit lane.
Kubica got back the lead on lap 18 and seemed to be heading for victory. Eric Salignon made a costly mistake, losing him five places. Tristan Gommendy and Adrian Valles then moved up onto the two lower steps on the podium.
The Safety car was brought out again so that Karun Chandhok's car could be cleared from the track. The race restarted for only two laps but almost immediately Kubica encountered an electrical problem and was forced to abandon. Gommendy's lead was under threat from Adrian Valles, but the Frenchman hung on for victory. After a storming end of race, Salignon grabbed third place from Pasini.
Tristan Gommendy: "What an amazing race-- We have been quick since the start of the weekend but qualifying didn't go very well. I stopped early and then attacked really hard. I hope I can win again at Le Mans!"
Adrian Valles: "I was in the top 3 until qualifying, when we had a few problems. Fourth and second, it's actually a good result."
Eric Salignon: "I'm not used to long races with a pit stop which means that tactics play a big role. I had difficulty in overtaking slower drivers after my pit stop. And then I made a big mistake when chasing Kubica. The heavens smiled on me and I was able to get back up the field. I just have to start winning races now, and then the championship!"