Istanbul: Race one report

Perfect Prémat Pips Pumped-up Pantano Today's GP2 series race at the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey was an action-packed contest from start to nail-biting conclusion. Alex Prémat took the chequered flag from Giorgio Pantano by just 0.3...

Perfect Prémat Pips Pumped-up Pantano

Today's GP2 series race at the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey was an action-packed contest from start to nail-biting conclusion. Alex Prémat took the chequered flag from Giorgio Pantano by just 0.3 seconds. Borja Garcia collected his first podium of the season in third, with Nelson Piquet Jr fourth, Scott Speed fifth, Jose Maria Lopez sixth, Adam Carroll seventh and Hiroki Yoshimoto eighth. Scott also picked up two points for fastest lap, and Yoshi's eighth place rewards him with his first GP2 series pole for tomorrow's race.

>Race Report. Nico Rosberg led the first lap from pole, with Scott, Jose Maria and Giorgio in pursuit. But when Neel Jani hit the pit-entrance wall at the end of lap one, the safety car was brought out and every driver bar four (Nico, Scott, Jose Maria and Mathias Lauda) pitted. When the safety car pulled in, the race really began. Nico and Scott started to pull out a small gap, trading fastest laps as they diced for position. But their battle was not to go the distance, as Nico slowed with a bent exhaust and damaged gearbox which he had picked up in his battle with the American. Nico would eventually finish out of the points and two laps adrift.

Scott then spun under his own steam and allowed Jose Maria back within spitting distance. Slightly further back, a determined Mathias was at the head of an exciting battle between a train of cars. At the final corner on lap 16, three of them - Clivio Picione, Nicolas Lapierre and Gimmi Bruni - all went for the same piece of tarmac, and only Clivio saw Turn 1 again. The safety car was deployed for a second time. This time Scott and Jose made their compulsory stops. They emerged in seventh and eighth places.

Alex had fared best from the early decision to pit as he now led the race from Giorgio and Nelson. The two leaders pushed each other all the way to the finish, but despite two lunges on the final lap, Giorgio couldn't find a way past. Scott, having lost the lead at is pit stop, was in no mood to hang about and made short work of passing first Clivio, then Juan Cruz Alvarez, en route to claiming fastest lap. The American next set about Borja, who upped his pace and in the process passed Nelson. Both Durango drivers then spun off, leaving Olivier Pla in eighth once again for Sunday pole. Yoshi, however, had driven a great race since a spin earlier in the day, and passed the Frenchman around the outside of Turn 8 on the last lap for the final points-paying position.

What about the championship? With neither Heikki nor Nico scoring any points today, the championship gap stands at four points (79 to 75 in favour of the Finn.) Scott now has 56 points in third, with Alex just three behind him in fourth. ART Grand Prix moves on to 127 points in the teams' battle, with Arden International second on 92 and SuperNova International third on 72.

1st Alex Prémat ART Grand Prix: 1:01:27.680
"For sure it was a really good race! I did a great start and overtook some people so when I came around I was fifth, and it was just incredible. After the second safety car I was in front but it was really close [to Pantano], so the pressure was strong!"

2nd Giorgio Pantano Super Nova International: +0.336
"I was quick, the car was working very well, and I think that everyone will have enjoyed this race. I was quite sure I was going to win, but unfortunately I didn't have a chance to overtake Alex."

3rd Borja Garcia Racing Engineering: +9.486
"It was difficult and fast, but this track I think makes it easy to overtake, and everyone was overtaking everywhere! I'm really happy for me and for the team as it is their second podium."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Nelson Piquet , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Adam Carroll , Neel Jani , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Hiroki Yoshimoto , Jose Maria Lopez , Mathias Lauda , Juan Cruz Alvarez , Borja Garcia
Teams ART Grand Prix , Racing Engineering , Arden International