Premat takes maiden victory in Hungaroring sprint race

French driver Alexander Premat claimed his first GP2 series race today in the second competition of the weekend at Hungaroring, with the winner`s temmate Nico Rosberg and Giorgio Pantano in the podium places. Premat started from fourth position...

French driver Alexander Premat claimed his first GP2 series race today in the second competition of the weekend at Hungaroring, with the winner`s temmate Nico Rosberg and Giorgio Pantano in the podium places.

Premat started from fourth position for the race, which finished in the 45-minute limit due to two safety cars periods. The 1-2 meant the recovery of ART Grand Prix after the disqualification on Friday`s qualifying session that had both cars start from the back on Saturday.

"I'm really happy about this race! The format is good because we have the long race and the short race, because if we finish fifth then we start in front -- I think this is good for our championship", the winner mentioned.

Premat was on third until Ernesto Viso retired and later took the lead when Olivier Pla also quit with electrical problemes when he was in front. "When I pushed behind Viso he had some problem, and then he dropped out and I was up to second behind Olivier and the gap was pretty big until the safety car. He did a really good job after the safety car and there were two laps where he was in front of me and the gap was dropping, so I thought he had some problem and then I was out in front".

The 2004 Macau F3 winner has a clear new target now: "Now I just want to win the Saturday day race -- I think that's the next thing I have to do, because the long race is more important than the short race. This was really good, but now I want to win a long race".

This was the third time that Premat reached the podium in GP2. First was second place in San Marino that he later repeated a week ago in Hockenheim.

Rosberg could came-up with another podium that allowed him to continue with Heikki Kovalainen in the fight for the championship.

About the dispute that has him against the Arden men, Rosberg commneted: "Heikki had a really good weekend with second yesterday and fifth today -- it was a perfect weekend for him -- and he only made one point on us, so it was a pretty good weekend for us too".

Rosberg started from fourth position in the grid and as his teammate, took good profit of Viso and Pla`s problem to get second place. The German had a bad start of the race and lost the position with Premat.

"I could have won today, but that didn't happen because it was my teammate in front, but it was still a good result. I was lucky actually because I stalled and the engine went off, but it restarted from the two kilometres speed I had -- it just went dum dum dum and then started", he said.

After all, Rosberg took good result today that allows him to stay close in the standings. It was the second 1-2 for the team after the one took in Germany a week ago with Rosberg-Premat in the order.

Pantano repeated his third place of race closing a very good weekend for the Italian of Super Nova.

"If I went through the start like I did yesterday then I could have been second or third, and we saw what happened to Viso and Pla so I could maybe have been first. It probably wasn't my time to win the race this weekend, but we still did a really good job", Pantano explained.

The Italian jumped from sixth place but found Rosberg`s bad move in front that complicated him. "He didn't make a very good start and he closed the door on me and I had to brake hard, unfortunately".

From that point Pantano kept pushing with a really competitive car, but the twisty turns of Hungaroring put a stop to his ambition. With fifth podium of the season, Pantano is in condition to go get his first victory in GP2 anyday soon.

The points places were completed by yesterday winner, Neel Jani, Heikki Kovalainen and Nicolas Lapierre.

Kovalainen continues to lead the standings with 79 and is closely followed by Rosberg with 72. Third place belongs to Scott Speed, 50, while Premat jumps to fourth position, with 43 units.

In the teams' championship, ART is in the head with 110 points while Arden struggle to keep in the fight with 86. Super Nova is comfortably third with 59. The argue for fourth position has iSport and Racing Engineering, 38 to 37 respectively.

GP2 will now have a three-week break until August 20th and 21st, when the series returns to action in Istanbul, the site of the Turkish Grand Prix.

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Neel Jani , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Ernesto Viso
Teams ART Grand Prix