3 July 2005
Magny-Cours 2005: Rosberg wins Sunday stroll..
Nico Rosberg finally took his first GP2 Series win of the season after decimating the 24-car field in Sunday's sprint race at Magny-Cours.
The German, robbed of a probable podium finish in Saturday's longer race by an ill-timed pace car, started from second on the grid for race two and, having got the jump on poleman Clivio Piccione, simply disappeared. Three seconds up the road in as many laps, the gap continued to grow as the ART driver - the form man of the moment -lapped at almost a second a lap quicker than his rivals for the rest of the 28-lap encounter.
Behind him, Piccione attempted to atone for a poor getaway by driving defensively through the first couple of corners, but the Monegasque was unable to keep the second row pair of Hiroki Yoshimoto and Neel Jani - or even fifth place starter Adam Carroll - at bay before eventually settling into fifth ahead of race one podium pairing Jose Maria Lopez and Heikki Kovalainen.
Jani, having taken Kovalainen's aggressive route along the left-hand verge to claim third, initially offered some opposition to the impressive Yoshimoto, but quickly found that he could not challenge the BCN driver and allowed him to ease into a comfortable second place.
The top six remained static for the opening half dozen laps, before Kovalainen showed why he is the current championship leader. Taking advantage of a Lopez slip, the Finn moved into the points positions before closing rapidly on Piccione. The Durango driver appeared to be suffering more than most with a difficult car, running wide and locking up at regular intervals, and Kovalainen wasted little time in exploiting one such moment to claim another place.
Adam Carroll was next on the Arden man's hit-list and, while the Irishman put up solid resistance for several laps, he too eventually succumbed to Kovalainen's pressure, allowing the Finn into fourth. Perhaps excited by his rise through the ranks, Kovalainen nearly replicated Carroll's error of running wide, but held it together as the Irishman got sideways in his attempt to repass.
With Carroll also looking to be running out of grip, Kovalainen was eventually able to gap the Super Nova car, homing in instead on third-placed Jani. The pursuit took only three laps, with Kovalainen out-foxing his Swiss opponent at the final chicane to move onto the podium for the second time inn the weekend. Yoshimoto, however, remained out of the Finn's reach - just - despite Kovalainen closing to within a second by the flag.
Jani managed to hold firm for fourth place, but the action continued behind him, primarily as Alex Premat - Saturday's polesitter - attempted to make up for not scoring in race one. From ninth on the grid, the fiery Frenchman got himself into the points by passing both Piccione and Lopez in quick succession, but his attempt to wrest fifth from Carroll provoked a rash move into Nurburgring that ended with the ART car making contact with its Super Nova equivalent and spinning.
Lopez managed to reclaim sixth before Premat could rejoin, but the Frenchman was quickly onto the tail of the mint-green DAMS car and looking to regain a points position. Incredibly, however, his race - and that of his opponent - ended in a near identical repeat of the Carroll incident, this time with Premat making heavy contact with the side of Lopez's car, spinning the Argentine out on the spot and damaging his own right-front corner in the process.
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