Carroll Wins Tight Monaco Race

Adam Carroll held his nerve to take a thrilling win in Monaco, with Gianmaria Bruni and Nico Rosberg crossing the line right on the Ulsterman's tail to create the closest race finish in GP2's short history

Carroll Wins Tight Monaco Race

At the start of the race, Ferdinando Monfardini and Ernesto Viso stalled on the grid as the other cars left for their warm up, and were pushed into the pits to be restarted while, back on track, Kovalainen from pole led Bruni, Carroll and a fast starting Clivio Piccione away from the lights, with Piccione overtaking Scott Speed and a stalled Olivier Pla as he went.

Kovalainen took advantage of the clear air ahead of him to pull out a gap on the pursuing pack, running 3.8 seconds ahead of Bruni after five laps. Behind the top five Rosberg was pushing Neel Jani hard for sixth place, running at a blistering pace and taking fastest lap as soon as Jani pulled in for his pitstop.

Viso meanwhile was back in the pits for good - he was shown the black flag for starting from the pits with the red lights still on and the medical car just running past the pit exit.

Piccione's solid work was all undone on lap twelve when he flew over the kerbs after the swimming pool and hit the wall solidly, repeating the mistake of so many drivers over the weekend.

Nelson Piquet Jr. was by now on a charge - after an early stop he was pushing up the grid and ran by Sergio Hernandez, very late on the brakes, at St. Devote for ninth place on track after starting at the rear of the grid.

Back at the front Kovalainen's early work was being undone - he started to lose a second a lap to Bruni and Carroll who were pursuing him as the pitstops started. Carroll was first, on lap 18, with Kovalainen in two laps later, and Rosberg one after that on lap 21.

Kovalainen he was left fuming in the pitlane as his mechanics could not remove his left front tyre - eventually they moved to the other side of the car to change the right, but the damage was done and he lost a lap to the now-leading Bruni.

With clear air ahead of him Bruni started to pull out as much of a gap as he could, and was leading Carroll by 26.2 seconds as he stopped on lap 30. It wasn't enough - Carroll powered by as Bruni exited the pits and looked to have the race in his hands.

The top three positions were now Carroll, Bruni and Rosberg, who had taken advantage of a smart pitstop strategy to get by Speed, while Piquet was up to sixth, just behind Garcia and ahead of a charging Kovalainen, who made his way back onto the lead lap.

Within a few laps of Bruni's pitstop he had found his way up to Carroll's tail, but the tight circuit was giving him no opportunity to make a pass unless Carroll made a mistake. With the pair running so close Rosberg was also able to catch up, and the three ran nose to tail over the closing six laps to the delight of the crowd all around the harbourside.

With just four to go, Piquet's car let him down, slowing to a stop at Casino Square.

But the weekend belonged to Adam Carroll, who just managed to hold off Bruni and Rosberg at the line to claim the first ever GP2 race win in Monaco, ahead of Speed and Kovalainen, with Mathias Lauda a surprising sixth place albeit a lap down.

GP2 Series Round 3 (Race 5) at Monaco - Results:

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver      Team                      Time
 1.  Carroll     Super Nova International  1:04:41.326
 2.  Bruni       Coloni Motorsport         +     0.657
 3.  Rosberg     ART Grand Prix            +     1.101
 4.  Speed       iSport International      +    18.452
 5.  Kovalainen  Arden International       +    53.398
 6.  Lauda       Coloni Motorsport         +    1 Lap
 7.  Artam       iSport International      +    1 Lap
 8.  Hernandez   Campos Racing             +    2 Laps
 9.  Pla         DPR                       +    3 Laps
10.  Garcia      Racing Engineering        +    4 Laps
11.  Piquet Jr.  Hitech Piquet Sports      +    4 Laps
12.  Negrao      Hitech Piquet Sports      +    4 Laps
                 
NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

     Driver      Team                    On Lap
     Lapierre    Arden International       33
     Premat      ART Grand Prix            23
     Piccione    Durango                   11
     Jani        Racing Engineering        10
     Lopez       DAMS                      10
     Sharp       DPR                        8
     Fauzy       DAMS                       6
     Pantano     Super Nova International   0
     Alvarez     Campos Racing              0
     Monfardini  Durango                    0
     
Fastest Lap: Kovalainen, 1:23.864 on lap 44

Championship Standings, Round 3:

Drivers' Championship     Constructors' Championship
 1.  Kovalainen    28     1.  Arden International      32
 2.  Bruni         26     2.  Coloni Motorsport        29
 3.  Speed         25     3.  iSport International     27
 4.  Carroll       23     4.  Super Nova International 23
 5.  Lopez         17     5.  ART Grand Prix           19
 6.  Rosberg       12     6.  DAMS                     17
 7.  Piquet Jr.    10     7.  Hitech Piquet Sports     11
 8.  Jani          10     8.  Racing Engineering       10
 9.  Premat         7     9.  DPR                       4
10.  Lapierre       4    10.  BCN Competicion           2
11.  Pla            2    11.  Campos Racing             1
12.  Viso           2
13.  Negaro         1
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