Olivier Pla has won today's GP2 series race from Scott Speed and Heikki Kovalainen to become the seventh winner in eleven races in the 2005 championship. Despite coming under race-long pressure from his rivals, the Frenchman proved himself equal...
Olivier Pla has won today's GP2 series race from Scott Speed and Heikki Kovalainen to become the seventh winner in eleven races in the 2005 championship. Despite coming under race-long pressure from his rivals, the Frenchman proved himself equal to the challenge. Nico Rosberg continued his points scoring run with fourth, ahead of his team-mate Alex Prémat and Neel Jani.
Olivier made a great getaway from pole, as Piccione, Bruni and Speed fought for position through Copse corner. Kovalainen and Rosberg were back to their duelling best, passing Lapierre, Prémat, and Jani by the end of the fourth lap. On lap eight, Nelson Piquet Jr spun, leaving his car stranded in the middle of the track. The safety car was deployed and Bruni jumped into the pits to take a drive-through penalty handed to him for jumping the start.
As the race got back underway, the American set about Piccione and on lap 17 saw his chance and took it. Piccione seemed to be taken by surprise, and in the following few corners fell back to sixth as he was overtaken by Kovalainen, Rosberg and Prémat. Piccione was in the pits soon after, bent susupension seeing to his race.
Speed was harrying Pla for the lead. The American was clearly fast, and set the quickest lap of the race as early as lap two. But the Frenchman, who has been known for his fair share of spins thus far in 2005, held his nerve sublimely. Despite the American's best efforts Olivier held on for his maiden GP2 series win. The top six drivers were covered by less than seven seconds at the flag.
What about the championship? Heikki's fourth place sees him extend his championship lead over Nico. The Finn now has 64 points to the German's 44, with Scott just three behind Nico on 41. Adam's double no-point finishes have relegated him to fourth on 34, one point above Gimmi on 33. Jose Maria Lopez is sixth with 25 points, level with Jani and one point above Prémat. In the teams' championship Arden International's lead has been cut to eight points over ART Grand Prix. Arden now has 76 points to their rival's 68, with Super Nova International still on 44 in third. iSport International have 43 points with Coloni fifth on 36, with DAMS and Racing Engineering on 25.
1st Olivier Pla DPR.40:09.933
"I don't think it was my best drive, because I won many races in Formula Three and then last year in World Series, but for sure it's a very good victory for me, and very good for the team. And I hope that it's the beginning of the season for us now!"
2nd Scott Speed iSport International. +0.547
"Everything went exactly to plan. On the second lap I let Bruni and the leaders go and I was confident that I had a fast car, and sure enough I had a clear space and did fastest lap and got two points, and then I put pressure on the guys the whole race, and got by two of them."
3rd Heikki Kovalainen Arden International. +1.220
"The main thing was just to keep Rosberg behind me, because he's been quite strong this weekend and I needed to get some more points, and then next week we can try again to win another race."