by Dan Shires

Heikki Kovalainen made the most of other people's mistakes to take his fourth GP2 win of the season and maintain his lead in the championship race to Nico Rosberg.

Despite his lowly tenth on the grid, the Finn capitalised on strategic errors by his rivals following an early rain shower to pick his way through the opposition and take the chequered flag.

He was followed home by Northern Irishman Adam Carroll, with Rosberg in the lead ART entry finishing third. For the second time this weekend Scott Speed ran out as an early race leader but a poorly timed pit stop forced him back and he had to settle for fourth. Borja Garcia was fifth, followed home by Piquet, Lopez, Pantano, Bruni and Yoshimoto completing the top ten.

In contrast to Saturday overcast and drizzly weather greeted the drivers as they lined up on the grid for the second race at the Istanbul Otodrome. As they were led away by Hiro Yoshimoto for the formation lap, second place on the grid Adam Carroll was left standing and forced to play catch up by eventually starting at the back.

As the red lights extinguished Yoshimoto got a bad getaway, but Jose Maria Lopez from third and Scott Speed made good ones and tried to muscle their way past the Japanese driver into the first corner. They were followed by Garcia and yesterday's winner, Alexandre Premat from eighth on the grid as Yoshimoto ran wide. Ahead Lopez also fell foul of the damp conditions allowing Speed to pull away into the lead.

Right at the back Durango's Clivio Piccione slipped off as did Alex Negrao in the Hitech Piquet, but the action was erupting all over the field as Yoshimoto again slipped off the road and was followed by Premat and Pantano at the end of the lap allowing Heikki Kovalainen to slip through. The trio recovered, and Premat began his assault on Yoshimoto as they entered lap two. Pantano was less lucky as he made another mistake and fell further behind the Frenchman, who passed the BCN driver going into turn seven, but was unable to make the move stick on the exit of the corner.

Nico Rosberg, who started 17th on the grid, put in a blistering first lap and had made his way to eighth as he trailed Nelson Piquet, but was because of the conditions was unable to make a move on the Brazilian stick as he tried to push his way past.

As the battle between Premat and Yoshimoto continued, Premat fell foul of the conditions on the tricky turn eight section of the track and managed to lock-up and understeer into a spin. After a moment stationary he recovered the track very slowly.

As the track began to dry off in places, the unlucky Adam Carroll was charging from the back of the grid trying to recover his rightful position at the front of the field, easily dispensing of Garcia in eighth and Nelson Piquet in seventh following Premat's spin.

The conditions proved a difficulty for some of the drivers, with Frenchman Olivier Pla seeming to struggle the most suffering a number of off-track incidents throughout the race, the first of which was an unlucky collision with Giorgio Pantano. As the pair entered the penultimate corner on lap four Pla attacked the inside of Pantano but the Italian didn't leave him any room and the inevitable happened, however both men were able to continue.

At the beginning of lap five Yoshmoto remained in second place and was putting on a brave charge to try and catch the American Scott Speed who was only six tenths ahead of him at this stage of the race. Further back, the battle for the championship saw the two main protagonists Kovalainen and Rosberg come through a minor skirmish without problem as the Finn powered past the Arden driver with ease through turn seven. Rosberg was seriously on a charge at this point, quickly dispensing of Lopez getting the gap to Scott Speed to a manageable nine seconds, with his next target Ernesto Viso only 3.43 seconds ahead.

As the track continued to dry out on lap 10, the drivers were forced to increasingly look after their wet weather tyres by searching for damper lines off the main route around the circuit, this raised questions, particularly of Rosberg's ability to conserve his tyres if the conditions remained the same.

It wasn't long before the drivers were forced to play their hand, and Giorgio Pantano was the first to blink coming in for a tyre change on lap 11 soon followed by Neel Jani and Heikki Kovalainen from sixth place.

As the conditions continued their improvement Yoshimoto's pursuit of Speed in the lead was unrelenting, knocking the gap between the two down to 0.164 seconds. Yoshimoto looked to have the iSport driver where he wanted him on turn seven with ten laps remaining, but a lack of traction off line as he dived for the inside forced him to back off.

Following his tyre change, Pantano showed that 'slicks' were the compound to be on at this stage of the race as he popped in a lap of 1m 48.400s, eight seconds faster than the leaders and ten ahead of the rest of the field. The iSport and ART teams knew they had to do something, and called Speed and Rosberg in to change tyres. This gave the lead to Yoshimoto, and fed the American and Finn to sixth and seventh in the pack behind Adam Carroll.

Rosberg was now all over Speed and the question of who could make their cold tyres work better was unquestionably falling in the Finn's favour. As they entered the chicane on the exit of turn eight they came across Speed's team-mate and home hero Can Artam, the pair nearly tripped over the Turk but he fairly let them through despite a slightly hair-raising moment.

At the front the BCN team found their drivers Yoshimoto and Viso in first and second place, and they were maintaining their push for victory with seven laps to go. However the pair hadn't changed tyres, and were soon ripe pickings for Kovalainen and the following pack.

Yoshimoto's problems were compounded by not recognising the lapped Mathias Lauda as not his team-mate due to their similar liveries, and the Japanese driver wasted precious seconds by defending the Austrian even though it was plainly obvious he was faster and should have been allowed to un-lap himself.

Kovalainen's pursuit continued, and he easily pushed past the floundering Viso with Carroll following suit quickly behind. For Kovalainen it was like a bottle being uncorked, and he was soon on Yoshimoto's tail, pushing past him on the final corner and into the lead.

Carroll soon managed to do the same, but Yoshimoto was determined not to give up pushing the Northern Irishman hard, however Rosberg (who had passed Speed unseen by the televison cameras) and the American iSport driver managed to find their way through at the first corner as well.

From that point Yoshimoto was like a stone dropping to the bottom of the tank as he was passed by all and sundry eventually finishing tenth, a lot less than he deserved.

However that signalled the end of the race as Kovalainen stroked his Arden home 7.2 seconds ahead of Adam Carroll to mark a remarkable turnaround on a weekend he appeared to be nowhere.