Jani Takes Maiden Win in Hungary

Neel Jani held his nerve after sustaining almost race long pressure from his fellow podium finishers to take his first GP2 win in race one at the Hungaroring, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano

Jani Takes Maiden Win in Hungary

Jani, who started from pole after Nico Rosberg lost the position because his car was found to be illegal by the race stewards, made a strong start to lead Pantano into turn one, with Scott Speed passing a slow Kovalainen on the dirty side of the track and following the pair through.

The fast starting Olivier Pla was the next man by, moving up from eighth to fourth off the line and leading Gimmi Bruni and Ernesto Viso through turn one. Behind them Hiroki Yoshimoto was in the wars, having stalled the car and needing to be pushed into the pitlane, along with Nicolas Lapierre and Ferdinando Monfardini.

But at the front Jani was starting as he meant to go on, setting the early fastest lap and easing a gap back to Pantano as Nelson Piquet, Nico Rosberg and Gimmi Bruni peeled into the pitlane for early stops.

Juan Cruz Alvarez, up to sixth place early in the race, was piling on the pressure to Pla, and after a few laps he claimed his scalp - Pla ran slightly wide and Alvarez was through and off after a fast charging Ernesto Viso.

On lap thirteen Speed was the first of the front runners into the pits, coming in from third but coming out behind Rosberg after initially stopping in the wrong pit and having to push up to his iSport mechanics.

He made up slightly for the error three laps later after taking Rosberg, who just put a wheel on the grass and lost three seconds in his lap. Kovalainen and Pantano were into the pits in the interim, with the Finn winning the battle of the pit crews.

But the one that everyone was waiting for came on lap 18 - Jani had a strong lead as he dived into the pitlane, and after a solid pitstop was able to emerge just ahead of Kovalainen and Pantano at turn one.

Behind them Negrao was the only man not to pit, and he was running fourth and twenty seconds behind the top three with a train of drivers behind him - Alex Premat, Jose Maria Lopez, Rosberg, Bruni and Piquet were all looking for a way past the Brazilian, who was clearly running at a slower pace than the others.

Premat, Lopez and Rosberg muscled his way past on lap 24, and one lap later Negrao released the remainder as he finally stopped. It came too late for Alvarez, who was now running right on Piquet's rear wing but stopped two corners later and parked on the side of the road.

There were now two distinct races being run simultaneously - Jani, Kovalainen and Pantano was the main event, while Viso tacked on to the end of the battle for fourth place behind them.

Viso was clearly on a charge - on lap 29 he forced his way through Piquet for eighth place, and one lap later he stormed past Bruni and started to close on Rosberg.

The Venezuelan driver was forced to slow down when, two spots ahead of him, Lopez lost the rear of his car into the final corner and had a big impact with the pit wall, bringing out the safety car for four laps.

Everyone's lead was closed at a stroke, with Premat gaining the twenty seconds he lacked to the front three. A dramatic final eight laps was in a certainty.

And so it proved. Jani was strong at the restart but Kovalainen threw himself up the inside to push just ahead into turn one. The Finn was unable to slow down sufficiently for the corner, however, and Jani was back inside and past him into turn two and trying to rebuild his lead again.

Behind them Piquet was unable to find a line past Can Artam, who was two laps down but in the middle of the action on track, and the Brazilian had lost four places the next time around. More bad luck came three laps later, when his car slowed and stopped by the side of the track.

Adam Carroll looked to have a good reward out of the restart when he took eighth place from Bruni, while Yoshimoto gave himself a gap and set the fastest lap of the race, albeit one lap down on the leaders.

At the front Kovalainen and Pantano were climbing all over the rear wing of Jani, but the Swiss driver was equal to the task - he took the chequered flag to win race one, with the gap to Pantano in third place just 1.7 seconds.

Premat and Rosberg, making the most of a race started on the back row of the grid, were next through, with Viso and Pla right on the tail of Rosberg. The luck of the Irish had deserted Carroll, however, as Negrao just got by him on the final lap to claim the final point of the race and pole for race two tomorrow.


Pos  Driver      Team                      Time
 1.  Jani        Racing Engineering        1h 11:11.253
 2.  Kovalainen  Arden International       +      0.430
 3.  Pantano     Super Nova International  +      1.739
 4.  Premat      ART Grand Prix            +      7.302
 5.  Rosberg     ART Grand Prix            +     10.471
 6.  Viso        BCN Competicion           +     10.579
 7.  Pla         DPR                       +     11.278
 8.  Negrao      Hitech Piquet Sports      +     21.110
 9.  Carroll     Super Nova International  +     23.036
10.  Bruni       Coloni Motorsport         +     33.223
11.  Garcia      Racing Engineering        +     39.431
12.  Lapierre    Arden International       +     1 Lap
13.  Yoshimoto   BCN Competicion           +     1 Lap
14.  Artam       iSport International      +     2 Laps
15.  Piquet Jr.  Hitech Piquet Sports      +     5 Laps


     Driver      Team                    On Lap
     Lopez       DAMS                      29
     Alvarez     Campos Racing             25
     Hernandez   Campos Racing             24
     Monfardini  Durango                   21
     Speed       iSport International      18
     Lauda       Coloni Motorsport         18
     Fauzy       DAMS                      16
     Mondini     DPR                       11
     Piccione    Durango                   8

Fastest Lap: Yoshimoto 1:34.170 on lap 39

2005 Championship Standings, Round 8 (Race 14)

Drivers:              Teams:
 1.  Kovalainen  77   1.  ART Grand Prix            104
 2.  Rosberg     67   2.  Arden International        89
 3.  Speed       50   3.  Super Nova International   58
 4.  Jani        37   4.  iSport International       52
 =   Premat      37   5.  Racing Engineering         41
 6.  Carroll     34   6.  Coloni Motorsport          36
 7.  Bruni       33   7.  Hitech Piquet Sports       26
 8.  Lopez       25   8.  DAMS                       25
 9.  Pantano     24   9.  DPR                        20
 =   Piquet Jr.  24  10.  BCN Competicion            15
11.  Pla         18  11.  Durango                    13
12.  Piccione    12  12.  Campos Racing               3
 =   Lapierre    12
14.  Yoshimoto   10
15.  Viso         5
16.  Garcia       4
17.  Hernandez    3
 =   Lauda        3
19.  Artam        2
 =   Negrao       2
 =   Sharp        2
22.  Monfardini   1
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