Bruni captures first GP2 race at Catalunya

Bruni captures first GP2 race at Catalunya

The victory belonged to Gianmaria Bruni in the first race of the GP2 series double round disputed today at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Polesittter Scott Speed, and standings leader Heikki Kovalainen took the remaining the podium ...

The victory belonged to Gianmaria Bruni in the first race of the GP2 series double round disputed today at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Polesittter Scott Speed, and standings leader Heikki Kovalainen took the remaining the podium places.

Gianmaria Bruni.
Photo by GP2 Series Media Service.
The Italian driver captured the race lead in the start after leaving behind Speed in the main long straight of the Spaniard track. From that point, Bruni started to build an important gap between him and his pursuers.

"I drove the first four laps at the absolute limit, and when I had a good gap over Lopez I just wanted to control the race so I was just driving around", commented Bruni.

The battle for second place was between Jos? Mar?a L?pez and Speed, who was on the rear wing of the Argentinean. When L?pez made a pit stop on lap 24, Bruni had a gap of nine seconds over the rest of the field.

Bruni, driver of Coloni Motorsport, continued in the lead until his pit stop on lap 26 and returned to fifth place, but just for the moment.

With the car of iSport International, Speed enjoyed first position for five laps followed by Ryan Sharp, Nelson A. Piquet, Alexandre Negrao, Bruni, Lopez and Kovalainen on top sixth places.

Scott Speed.
Photo by GP2 Series Media Service.
On lap 31, the iSport crew made a quick stop for Speed which put him back less than five seconds behind Bruni, who was again the leader.

The North American started to push hard on Bruni`s position by cutting the gap with the Italian. Speed reduced the gap from five seconds to less than one second with only four laps to finish the competition.

"I just kept on pushing and hoped that maybe he might make a mistake if I closed the gap enough", mentioned Speed, while he added: "In the end though, I figured I could go all out for it and end up losing second place, so I just made sure I stayed close to him, so he could see me. It wasn't worth risking losing everything on the last lap."

In a thrilling battle, Bruni decided it was the time to use the gas, and so he did. The former Minardi driver in F1 set twice his best personal lap in a crucial moment of the race: the end. After the 39 laps, Bruni ended up with the victory by 1.2 seconds over Speed.

"When I came into the pits we took a chance and changed all four tyres and maybe that was a good idea. In the end Scott had a better pitstop because he only changed two tyres. But then when he got close, I knew I had four new tyres, I knew I had the pace, so I just pushed a little harder and pulled the gap open again", explained the winner about the key moment of the competition.

Kovalainen jumped to third place when L?pez made a mistake that allowed the Finn to add his third podium in equal amount of races disputed so far by GP2.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by GP2 Series Media Service.
However, the key to Kovalainen's podium was the early pit stop, a strategy that paid off at the end. "It was a team decision by Arden. It was the only thing to do if we wanted to fight for points or the win. We knew we were going to be on the pace in race conditions on used tyres and heavy fuel. I didn't want to waste that potential behind slower cars, so we made the early pitstop to get into some clean air", he explained.

"I think this result is the maximum we could have hoped for today. We couldn't have done any better", Kovalainen said.

Bruni became the third winner in the series after three races, while Speed earned his best result and his second podium after the third place in race one at Imola.

The remaining top-eight places had Neel Jani, Piquet, L?pez, Adam Carroll and Negrao.

The standings has Kovalainen as the leader with 20 points, followed by Bruni with 18 and Speed with 16.

Race two of the weekend will be after the second qualifying session of F1 on Sunday.

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Scott Speed , Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Alexandre Funari "Xandy" Negrao , Neel Jani , Ryan Sharp