GP2 series heads to Monaco The GP2 series makes a welcome return to the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend as Round five of the 2006 season gets under way in the Principality of Monaco. With eight races of the year already behind us, a...
GP2 series heads to Monaco
The GP2 series makes a welcome return to the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend as Round five of the 2006 season gets under way in the Principality of Monaco. With eight races of the year already behind us, a thrilling battle is emerging at the head of the championship which is set to continue apace around the narrow and twisting streets which form the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.
Let's push things forward: The streets of Monaco form one of the greatest tests in modern motorsport. This season sees the 64th running of the Grand Prix around a circuit which has remained relatively unchanged since first it was used to hold motor races. As speeds have increased, so to has the challenge of this most majestic and fabled of racing tracks. There simply isn't another circuit on the planet which holds the glamour, allure and prestige of Monaco.
This year the GP2 series makes its return to Monaco after its highly successful debut at the track in 2005 as the main support event for the Formula One Grand Prix. Last season's race saw Adam Carroll take an emotional win ahead of Gimmi Bruni and Nico Rosberg, the latter taking his very first podium of the season en route to the title. The race was not without incident, as the notoriously narrow roads caught many off guard. Even Adam had a brush with the barriers, but held his nerve and his control of an ailing car to record his second of three 2005 wins.
As 2006 championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr discovered to his dismay in 2005, qualifying is all important around the streets of the Principality. The Brazilian made contact with Can Artam at Mirabeau during the 30-minute session last season, putting him out on his first lap. He will be hoping for a clear run at pole this year if he wants to maintain his championship momentum. But with a grid of 26 cars all circulating at once, timing will be crucial.
This weekend features a slightly modified running order for the GP2 series. Thursday will showcase the first of two practice sessions which will run from 10:00-10:30. Then on Friday the GP2 series has its busiest morning of the year, with the second practice session of the weekend taking place between 09:00-09:30, before the half hour qualifying session commences at 10:00. By 10:30 on Friday then, the preliminary sessions are all over, and the teams and drivers have over 24 hours to wait until the sole race of the meeting begins at 16:00 on Saturday.
What about the championship? Nelson leads the standings on 39 points, two ahead of his closest rival Lewis Hamilton, who took victory around the streets of Monaco in his Formula 3 EuroSeries campaign in 2005. Third in the fight is Lewis' team-mate Alex Prémat on 27, with Ernesto Viso fourth on 26, Nicolas Lapierre fifth on 25 and Michael Ammermüller sixth on 23.
In the fight for the teams' championship, ART Grand Prix leads the way on 64 points ahead of Arden International on 48. Piquet Sports lies third on 43 ahead of iSport International on 32, Trident Racing on 20 and BCN Competicion on 14 points.