Today saw a sensational victory for Javier Villa in the GP2 sprint race at Magny Cours. Javi's triumph is the first for a Spaniard in the GP2 series story, it makes him the youngest ever winner in the category and it is the culmination to all the...
Today saw a sensational victory for Javier Villa in the GP2 sprint race at Magny Cours. Javi's triumph is the first for a Spaniard in the GP2 series story, it makes him the youngest ever winner in the category and it is the culmination to all the hard work done by the young driver since his debut in GP2 with Racing Engineering last season, work that has its roots in his very beginnings at his family kart track in Soto de Dueñas (Asturias), in the northern part of Spain.
Javi's race was simply perfect after starting from second position on the grid following his spectacular recovery race on Saturday. When the lights went off Villa slotted in behind race leader, Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre, keeping to his pace without problems while nursing his tyres in order to be able to make an attack in the final stages of the race. However pressing on while keeping an eye on the recovery of Filippi and Pantano, who were closing quickly to the leading duo, was enough. On lap 16, Lapierre spectacularly locked his brakes at the Adelaide hairpin, outbraking himself and going off road, leaving Villa in first position in the race.
With 12 laps to go and with no Lapierre to hold him up, Javi could increase his pace and pull away from Filippi taking an advantage of around one and a half seconds which looked good enough to give him the victory. Suddenly the excitement of watching Javi leading the race was greatly increased when, with just 4 laps to go, the first drops of rain started to fall on Magny Cours. Javi was now facing some very tricky track conditions and with extreme maturity, slightly decreased his pace while still keeping Filippi and Pantano at sufficient distance to not put at risk his first place. Fortunately the rain didn't come down too heavily and Villa could again increase his advantage in the last two laps, crossing the Magny Cours finish line in first place, punching the air in front of the delighted members of his team that were leaning over the pit wall.
The celebrations from the top of the podium while the Spanish national anthem was played for the first time to celebrate a Spanish victory in GP2 showed a totally happy Javier Villa enjoying to the maximum a moment long awaited and fully deserved.
Today's victory also means six more points for Villa who has placed himself firmly in the top rankings of the GP2 2007 standings whose next date is already less than a week away at the British track of Silverstone.
Javier Villa's own words:
"Everything went very well, we were running steadily and always with some margin ...it has actually been quite a relaxed race! At the beginning it was a bit difficult to follow right behind Lapierre as I couldn't push as I wanted. Once he had made his mistake I could get past him and start to really push and lap something like 7 tenths quicker. At the end it started to rain slightly so I had to slow down a little bit but I still had some speed margin in hand in case it should have been necessary."