Kovalainen Wins Race 1

Heikki Kovalainen extended his GP2 championship lead, after winning the first race at the Nurburgring with the help of a clever race strategy

Kovalainen Wins Race 1

Kovalainen, who start from 17th on the grid, made an early pitstop to pop out ahead of pole sitter Giorgio Pantano and fellow early stopper Nico Rosberg, leading the race thereafter to the chequered flag.

With temperatures soaring inside and out of the car, a number of drivers had problems getting away on the formation lap. Hiroki Yoshimoto was left behind on the first formation lap, while Ernesto Viso and Nicolas Lapierre stalled on the second formation lap, and finally Scott Speed and Ryan Sharp stopped on the grid at the next attempt.

With the cars all removed to the pitlane, the race finally started, prompting mayhem at the first corner - Pantano and Gianmaria Bruni led Neel Jani and Jose Maria Lopez through safely, but further back Borja Garcia ran fast up the inside and was far too late on the brakes, hitting Adam Carroll and starting the carnage.

Xandi Negrao was next on the scene, touching Olivier Pla and causing both drivers to find the stranded Carroll, prompting a roadblock for Ferdinando Monfardini who finished his race on top of Negrao's car. With five cars stopped at turn one, a safety car was deployed.

At the restart, Pantano was able to easily lead Bruni across the line, with Mathias Lauda and Speed making an early pitstop, following in Kovalainen's earlier footsteps. The fast charging Clivio Piccione, who was up to sixth after the first corner from 14th, went one better to take Nelson Piquet's fifth place.

Nico Rosberg, who had stalled at the start of the race, took the opportunity to come in one lap later and get some clear track in front of him, while at the front Bruni was pushing Pantano hard, and Piccione and Lopez drove past Jani at turn three for third and fourth on the road respectively.

On lap eight, Pantano was in to change tyres - the first of the leaders to stop, handing Bruni the opportunity to push hard in front while Piccione pulled out all the stops to try and catch him.

Bruni was in five laps later, coming out eighth and just in front of a quick Rosberg, while Piccione and Lopez, who had also come in, were a lot slower to return to the track. Bruni's car, however, was not handling well - he spun shortly afterwards, and never quite regained form after his return to the track.

With everyone having stopped by lap 17, the order at the front was Kovalainen, Pantano, Rosberg, Jani, Bruni, Lopez, Alex Premat and Piquet.

Bruni, however, was dropping backwards, his car clearly ill-handling, and Lopez made short work of overtaking him, while Pantano was pushing hard to make up the gap to Kovalainen at the front.

Premat was on a charge after his stop - he took Bruni on lap 23, followed Piquet past Lopez five laps later, overtook Jani on lap 30 and then finally claimed Piquet's scalp two laps later.

Pantano's pressure was not enough - he couldn't find a way by Kovalainen despite piling on the pressure, and in the closing stages he backed off.

GP2 Series Round 4 (Race 6) at the Nurburgring - Results:

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Kovalainen Arden International 1h01:43.066 2. Pantano Super Nova International + 1.832 3. Rosberg ART Grand Prix + 24.953 4. Premat ART Grand Prix + 40.520 5. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports + 41.160 6. Jani Racing Engineering + 49.037 7. Piccione Durango + 49.138 8. Bruni Coloni Motorsport + 54.299 9. Sharp DPR + 1:07.919 10. Lauda Coloni Motorsport + 1:08.692 11. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 1:17.472 12. Lapierre Arden International + 1:19.997 13. Lopez DAMS + 1:20.750 14. Fauzy DAMS + 1:25.504 15. Hernandez Campos Racing + 1:32.110 16. Speed iSport International + 1 Lap 17. Artam iSport International + 1 Lap 18. Alvarez Campos Racing + 3 Laps NOT CLASSIFIED: Drover Team On Lap Viso BCN Competicion 9 Pla DPR 1 Carroll Super Nova International 1 Garcia Racing Engineering 1 Monfardini Durango 1 Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 1 Fastest Lap: Speed, iSport International, 1:44.992 Championship Standings, Round 4: Drivers' Championship Teams' Championship 1. Kovalainen 38 1. Arden International 42 2. Bruni 27 2. Super Nova International 33 3. Speed 25 3. ART Grand Prix 30 4. Carroll 23 = Coloni Motorsport 30 5. Rosberg 18 5. iSport International 27 6. Lopez 17 6. DAMS 17 7. Piquet Jr. 14 7. Hitech Piquet Sports 15 8. Jani 13 8. Racing Engineering 13 9. Premat 12 9. DPR 4 10. Pantano 10 10. BCN Competicion 2 11. Lapierre 4 = Durango 2 12. Pla 2 12. Campos Racing 1 = Viso 2 = Piccione 2 15. Negaro 1 
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