Clean sweep for Jani His luck has not really been with him so far this season but now things are finally starting to go his way: Neel Jani (Dams) is back among the championship leaders after taking two pole positions and two victories in round 5.
Clean sweep for Jani
His luck has not really been with him so far this season but now things are finally starting to go his way: Neel Jani (Dams) is back among the championship leaders after taking two pole positions and two victories in round 5. Sunday afternoon saw him drive to victory in the Super Sprint race ahead of Robert Bell (David Price Racing) and Giorgio Mondini (EuroInternational).
On the starting grid, it was handshakes all round as the technicians from the Dams team took it in turns to lend their support to Neel Jani. At last back to winning form on Saturday with half of the season already behind him, the Swiss driver was clearly determined to confirm that he was back to his best. He made no mistake about it. He was first into turn one, ahead of Bell, Mondini, Campaniço and Kerr after an incident-free start for the whole of the field.
From there, Jani was very quick to set the pace. Already lapping at 1:53.248 on lap two, Jani was the fastest out there, giving him a lead of 2.02 seconds over Bell and 5 seconds over Mondini on lap five. At that stage, it seemed like no-one would see him again before the finish line. But as Jani says "This race wasn't as straightforward as it looked. I certainly had a good lead, but from lap eight I was giving it everything and I could see that Bell was still gaining on me. But I was confident that I could do it and now I seem to have left the back luck behind me. At least I hope I have!".
But the driver behind him had absolutely no intention of making things easy for him. Bell was coming back at a rate of knots. By lap ten, only a tenth of a second separated him from the leader, with Mondini continuing to pile on the pressure. "I was all over Neel's rear wing," says Bell "but there was simply no way past. I never gave up for a second but I couldn't have done any better. In any case, I'm still right up amongst the leaders in the overall standings and that's what counts."
Meanwhile, Mondini had also started to make ground on the leaders from lap ten. But, as he explains: "I was coming from just too far back. I had a problem with uneven brake distribution at the start of the race and that allowed the two drivers at the front to extend too much of a lead. But I've made inroads into Sharp's lead in the overall rankings. It's just a shame that I had to abandon yesterday when I was leading the race. But that's life and there's still plenty of the season left."
Further back, Campaniço (Cram Competition) finished fourth bringing his weekend to an excellent conclusion, while Barth continued to surprise by taking fifth after making the most of an incident involving Kerr and Van Lagen.
Overall, Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) is now only 14 points ahead of Mondini. But the big winner this weekend is undoubtedly Jani who scored a total of 64 points. All this promises to make round six at Donington in a month's time a furiously competitive affair and sets the scene for a second half of the season in which everything remains up for grabs.
<pre> Race classification
1) Jani Dams 28'43''420 2) Bell David Price Racing 00''378 3) Mondini EuroInternational 04''028 4) Campaniço Cram Competition 09''379 5) Barth Interwetten.com 11''739 6) Kerr Victory Eng.SpA 14''510 7) Proetto EuroInternational 18''255 8) Belicchi AFC Motorsport 26''511 9) Sharp Jenzer Motorsport 27''219 10) Martinez Leon Cram Competition 27''535
1) Sharp 139 2) Mondini 125 3) Belicchi 104 4) Jani 101 5) Bell 94 6) Barth 82 7) Campaniço 74 8) Kerr 70 9) Proetto 58 10) Van Lagen 57