Titles for Kobayashi and SG! Despite the gloomy weather, the Monza podium was awash with joy. Thanks to their one-two, Yann Clairay and Carlo Van Dam handed SG Formula its first international team title. Third-placed Kamui Kobayashi (Prema ...
Titles for Kobayashi and SG!
Despite the gloomy weather, the Monza podium was awash with joy. Thanks to their one-two, Yann Clairay and Carlo Van Dam handed SG Formula its first international team title. Third-placed Kamui Kobayashi (Prema Power Team) grabbed the title from Michael AmmermÃ¼ller, thus succeeding Scott Speed as the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion!
With only two points separating AmmermÃ¼ller from Kobayashi at the start of this, the final race, the tension was almost unbearable. The Jenzer Motorsport and Prema Power Team mechanics kept a meticulous eye on each other on the grid. In the end, all the drivers except for Rocha, Albuquerque and Nyman opted for wet weather tyres.
Poleman Clairay mistimed his start, unlike Kobayashi who went into braking at the first chicane in the lead. Behind Clairay, third-placed AmmermÃ¼ller cut the chicane and ran into the side of Kobayashi. The German driver span his car, blocking several drivers behind him in the main field. Kobayashi managed to get out of the gravel and ended the first lap in fourth, behind Clairay, Van Dam and Xavier Maasen (JD Motorsport).
The two SG Formula teammates immediately attempted to get away. Kobayashi overtook Maasen on lap 2. He was followed by Kasper Andersen (Team Formula Sport), Luca Persiani (BVM Racing), Julien Canal (Graff Racing), David Oberle (Team Jenzer), Daniel Serra (Cram Competition) and Alan Hellmeister (JD Motorsport).
In tricky conditions, many cars ended up skidding. As the race unfolded, Cester, Serra, Nyman, Oberle, Mann, Marinescu, etc. were beset by spins or crashes.
Although third place was enough to win the title, Kamui Kobayashi just kept on attacking Carlo Van Dam. This allowed Clairay to stretch his lead significantly. Maasen was handed a 'drive through' because his tyres were not put on the '5 minutes' board: consequently, he plunged down the race order.
Although the first three drivers were moving clear, it was a completely different story behind them. Andersen lost 4th place, allowing both Persiani and Canal to get past. The French driver was definitely having his best weekend of the year, as he then overtook Persiani. Everything was going wrong for Andersen, however, who was overtaken by Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi) and then by Julien Jousse (SG Formula).
With two laps to go, the first three had bunched up together, and so Van Dam decided to attack his teammate Clairay! Kobayashi was waiting to pounce but the final podium places remained unchanged at the chequered flag. Behind these three, Julien Canal and Bertrand Baguette rounded off the top 5. Luca Persiani, Julien Jousse, Davide Valsecchi (RP Motorsport), Hiroyuki Matsumura (Graff Racing) and Kasper Andersen featured in the points.
Yann Clairay: "The first chicane was very closely fought. I managed to take the lead after messing up my start and I then pushed really hard. The racing line was changing all the time and you had to adjust on every lap. Carlo was very quick at the end of the race and I'm pleased that we managed to win the title for the team."
Carlo Van Dam: "I was under pressure from Kobayashi throughout the race. I had a chance to get past Yann on the final lap but I decided not to attempt the impossible. We were focussed on the Team title. We'll back in 2006 for the title!"
Kamui Kobayashi: "I attacked from start to finish because I'm only interested in winning. The title is an added bonus! The momentum was set rolling in Oschersleben after a difficult start to the season. I have one more title to go after this afternoon."