Heikki wins in the wet Heikki Kovalainen and his Arden International team played a game of tactics to win today's GP2 series race at Istanbul Park. The race started on a wet track, and Arden's decision to pit Heikki for dry tyres came just at...
Heikki wins in the wet
Heikki Kovalainen and his Arden International team played a game of tactics to win today's GP2 series race at Istanbul Park. The race started on a wet track, and Arden's decision to pit Heikki for dry tyres came just at the right time to place him at the head of the field, ahead of Adam Carroll and Heikki's main championship rival Nico Rosberg in third.
Race Report. After a 15-minute delay to the start caused by a sudden rainstorm, all the GP2 series drivers started today's race on wet tyres. On the warm-up lap, Adam, who should have lined up second on the grid, stalled, leaving him at the very back of the field. When the lights went out, polesitter Hiroki Yoshimoto was passed by a quick-starting Scott Speed, and in a frantic first lap Yoshi lost and then made up four places to start lap two in second place, with Alex Prémat right on his tail.
The opening laps saw numerous wild moments and exciting overtaking manoeuvres, but Scott, who was driving a GP2 series car for the first time in the wet (he missed the wet test in June due to F1 commitments), held his nerve. From 17th at the start Nico was also making an impressive assault on the race, and Adam too was sitting just outside the points having blasted around the first few laps to overtake more than half the field. But when Heikki pitted with half the race gone, his first timed lap indicated that it was, indeed, the right time to change onto drys.
Scott, who led despite a determined attack from Yoshi, was one of the last drivers to be called in for dry tyres. Yoshi accepted the lead, followed by his team-mate Ernesto Viso. Lap after lap passed, and still the BCN Competicion cars stayed out. Their lap times were now over seven seconds slower than the rest of the field, and when Mathias Lauda unlapped himself, the writing was on the wall. Heikki soon screamed past a helpless Yoshi, with Adam and Nico doing the same over the coming laps. Scott came home a disappointed fourth, with Borja Garcia fifth and Nelson Piquet Jr sixth. Yoshi and Ernesto finished out of the points, and Olivier Pla picked up two points for fastest lap.
What about the championship? After two thrilling races, the gap at the top of the championship remains the same as it was after the Hungaroring seven points. Heikki now leads Nico by 85 points to 78, with Scott still in third by a slightly reduced margin of 19 points. Alex is fourth on 53 with Adam rising to fifth on 41 thanks to his first points since Magny-Cours. Neel Jani is sixth on 40 points, ahead of Giorgio Pantano (36), Gimmi Bruni (33), Nelson Piquet Jr (30) and Jose Maria Lopez (28). In the teams' battle ART Grand Prix now lead with 131 points, ahead of Arden International on 98 and Super Nova International on 77.
1st Heikki Kovalainen Arden International 43:48.581
"When I passed the leaders I thought I was lapping them! I didn't see any blue flags, so I thought, what's going on? I saw `P1' on the board, and then it was plus five seconds or something the next time round. I only gained two points on Nico today, but it's better than losing two!"
2nd Adam Carroll Super Nova International: +7.985
"I just stalled on the new clutch. You don't want to know what I said to myself sitting there! I haven't scored since Magny-Cours so this result is great. We're back and I want to stay there."
3rd Nico Rosberg ART Grand Prix: +8.556
"It was fun, but it was difficult. I'm born to drive in those conditions, so I had a great time. This was the worst weekend of the year for me, but the gap to Heikki is the same so I'm very happy."