What a difference a days makes! Javier Villa's drive to his first GP2 Series victory brought joy to the hearts of his Racing Engineering team in the Sunday race at Magny Cours, yesterday, less than 24 hours after his new team-mate Ernesto Viso...
What a difference a days makes!
Javier Villa's drive to his first GP2 Series victory brought joy to the hearts of his Racing Engineering team in the Sunday race at Magny Cours, yesterday, less than 24 hours after his new team-mate Ernesto Viso had been hospitalized with concussion following a large accident on his return to the series in Saturday's feature race.
In taking his first victory Javier also set a new feat in GP2 Series history as in taking the chequered flag he became the seventh different driver from the seventh different team to win one of the opening seven races of the 2007 season... an interesting statistic, made all the more incredible when one considers that thus far, 2005 and 2006 team champions ART Grand Prix are yet to step on the top step of the podium.
Race Report. Poleman Nicolas Lapierre led Javier away at the start with Adrian Zaugg and Vitaly Petrov in hot pursuit. Bruno Senna had made a great start from sixth and was soon past the Russian and onto Adrian's tail, but contact between the team-mates put Adrian into retirement and lost the Brazilian time and places. Luca Filippi, who had missed out on a podium to Senna on Saturday was perfectly placed to take advantage of the confusion, and leapt past Vitaly and into third position and the podium place he had been denied the day before.
Up front Nicolas was controlling the race beautifully, holding around a second's gap to Javier, with Luca a similar distance behind the Spaniard. But with 17 laps gone, the Frenchman's dreams of a memorable win on the track at which he had grown up were shattered when a hydraulic brake fluid leak caused him to lock up going into the hairpin, and carry straight on over the gravel, into the barriers and retirement.
Despair for Nicolas was mirrored in delight for Javier, who put his foot down and pulled out a slight gap back to Luca. Saturday's winner Giorgio Panatno had also been on a charge, and was up to third, gaining on Luca with every passing lap. But as the chequered flag approached, the top three, who were lapping within half a second of each other could find no chink in their rivals' armour and the podium was set.
Lucas di Grassi held on for more points in fourth position, while behind him the scrap for the final points went down to the wire. Vitaly had Bruno and a resurgent Kazuki Nakajima on his tail, and as Bruno went for broke on the last lap, Vitaly held his nerve and maintained fifth. Bruno's lunge however lost him traction out of the hairpin, and in a flash Kazuki was through and up into the final points paying position. Andreas Zuber took fastest lap, but the point will go to Michael Ammermuller, as Andreas had started the race from the pits.
All this leaves Timo Glock still leading the championship on 39, with his only points for the weekend being those for pole. Luca has closed the gap to eight on 31, with Lucas di Grassi now third on 29 points. In the teams' championship iSport lead on 45, with ART Grand Prix closing the gap on 35 and Super Nova International third with 33.
1st Javier Villa Racing Engineering.39:46.184
"This is good - normally when you are in the front and they are pushing you all the way it's a really hard race, but this was comfortable. I was hoping it would be more difficult!"
2nd Luca Filippi Super Nova International. +0.603
"I think we have shown that our rhythm is always really good. Now Timo has had a zero point weekend in Magny Cours - we had bad luck once each. In Silverstone it would be really nice to have a good fight with him."
3rd Lucas di Grassi: ART Grand Prix. +1.262
"I hope I can close the gap to Glock, because I'm here to win the championship, not to be a number."