Magny-Cours: Round seven preview

GP2 series back in action in France The GP2 series gets back to racing ways this weekend as Round 7 of the 2006 season takes place at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours in the heart of France. After a month without any GP2 racing as the Formula One...

GP2 series back in action in France

The GP2 series gets back to racing ways this weekend as Round 7 of the 2006 season takes place at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours in the heart of France. After a month without any GP2 racing as the Formula One circus made its annual trip across the pond, and only a two-day test to keep everyone entertained, this weekend is sure to prove a welcome return to action for our teams, drivers, and fans.

Back to Bedlam: It's a return to arms for the GP2 series this weekend, and after a close mid- season test, nobody can wait to get out on track on Friday morning for Free Practice. As always, it is the GP2 series which will set the first laps on the track this weekend, exploring the green tarmac and perfecting set-ups in preparation for the afternoon's qualifying run. With just half an hour in each session, the action on track is sure to prove frantic.

Magny Cours is a tough circuit at the best of times a heady mix of long, wide straights, hard braking zones and fast, flowing corners. It's one of the slipperiest tracks of the year, even when it is rubbered in on the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres allocated for this race, and as always concentration will be at a maximum when negotiating the track's tough intricacies. The circuit conditions change almost constantly, not so much session to session as minute to minute, so it is the team which has the ability to react the quickest which usually finds the best results.

In 2005 it was at Magny-Cours that ART Grand Prix scored their first win in the GP2 series, after the all-important mid-season test had seen them make the discoveries which would take them to both titles. This season the test results were not so clear cut at the mid-season two-dayer at Circuit Paul Ricard. Super Nova International again looked fast with Jose Lopez taking the best time of the two days, and Piquet Sports were again highly competitive. But it was probably iSport International who had the most to be pleased with after two quick and consistent days for both of their drivers. The session raised more questions than answers however. The performance of ART Grand Prix, who finished fairly low down the overall order, was the greatest shock of all and this weekend we will start to see just how much of a difference the two days in the South of France could make to the championship battles.

What about the championship? Lewis Hamilton leads the charge for the drivers' title on 67 points, 22 ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr on 45. Alex Premat sits third on 36 points with Ernesto Viso fourth on 26. Behind Ernie, the Arden duo of Michael Ammermuller and Nicolas Lapierre are tied for fifth on 25 points. Nicolas however will be unable to add to his tally this weekend as, for the second race in succession, the injuries he sustained in the first corner crash in Monaco have ruled him out and he will be replaced by Toro Rosso F1 driver Neel Jani. Nicolas' compatriot Olivier Pla, who was also injured in Monaco, does however return to action for his home race.

In the teams' championship ART Grand Prix leads on 103 points, with their closest rivals Arden International second with 50. Piquet Sports sits just one point behind Arden on 49, with iSport International fourth on 40 points.

-gp2-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Neel Jani , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Ernesto Viso , Michael Ammermüller
Teams Toro Rosso , ART Grand Prix