21 August 2005
Istanbul 2005: Kovalainen strikes back.
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.
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