Joy for Bernoldi and Leinders

The Dallara Nissan World Series finished with a couple of chaotic races at Jarama. A wet track after two days of dry practice was the catalyst and a controversial application of the pit stop rules in the second race added fuel to the fire

Joy for Bernoldi and Leinders

In race one pole position man Enrique Bernoldi forced the fast starting Franck Montagny wide at the first corner to defend a lead he would hold to the flag. Heikki Kovalainen nipped ahead of his team-mate to take second, but the champion-elect was clearly quicker.

The Gabord cars ran nose to tail for the next two laps until Montagny, frustrated by the Finn's blocking tactics, made a mistake, locked his rear wheels and knocked the wing of his car off on the barriers. He would limp back to the pit and return to the track to set the fastest lap, but there would be no champagne finish to his title-winning season.

Bernoldi steadily pulled away from Kovalainen, whose car was misfiring sporadically. Behind them Bruce Jouanny and Polo Villaamil diced, before a mistake by the Spaniard took both drivers out. This left Jean Christophe Ravier a distant third, ahead of a train of cars including Paul Edwards, Stephane Sarrazin and Narain Karthikeyan.

The Indian was fighting to hold onto second in the standings, but as he tried to make a pass on Sarrazin he spun and dropped to seventh. Things got worse for the Team Carlin driver in race two, when an oil leak on the parade lap prevented him from taking the start.

Kovalainen converted pole into an early lead, but further back team-mate Montagny was in big trouble. He clashed with Ander Vilarino at the first corner, and the Epsilon car rode over the top of the champion's bright yellow machine, hitting his crash helmet as it did so. Fortunately the Frenchman was unhurt, but it was a potentially nasty moment.

When Sarrazin had a big accident at the final corner, leaving his battered car in the pitlane exit, the safety car was deployed. It was at this point the race almost became a farce. As soon as the pitstop window opened a number of teams brought their drivers in for the mandatory stop. However, GD Racing, KTR, Campos and Carlin believed this was not permitted under the safety car and effectively ruined their drivers' races by not calling them in.

Bernoldi thus held the lead when the action resumed and set about carrying on where he left off. Just a few laps later the safety car was sent out again after the Porteiro brothers collided and crashed into Bruno Besson, sending the Frenchman into the gravel.

This time GD called Bernoldi in, but he had not built up enough of an advantage and rejoined in fifth. So it was Ravier who led, from the impressive Enrico Toccacelo and Bas Leinders.

The Belgian soon found a way past the Formula 3000 driver and set about Ravier. He caught him quickly and made his way into the lead with a bold move around the outside of the Frenchman going through turns one and two.

Bernoldi worked his way up to third, Toccaclo came home fourth, Kovalainen took fifth, with series returnee Antonio Garcia sixth, the first of the drivers not to pit under the safety car.

Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 32m08.269s
Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +11.028s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +27.395s
Paul Edwards KTR +30.938s
Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +34.424s
Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport +37.537s

Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 53m47.037s
Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +1.407s
Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +2.773s
Enrico Toccacelo RC Motorsport +11.165s
Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +13.281s
Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport +18.050s

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