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Pla Takes Maiden Win at Silverstone

Olivier Pla has won a dramatic race two at Silverstone, soaking up race long pressure to record his first victory in the GP2 series, ahead of Scott Speed and Heikki Kovalainen

Pla took the lead from pole after making a quick getaway at the start, with fellow front row starter Gimmi Bruni bogging down and weaving across the track to keep his pursuers behind. It was to no avail - Clivio Piccione stayed left and was by the Italian for second on track.

Speed was right on Bruni's tail through the first turn, followed Neel Jani, Alex Premat and Nicolas Lapierre. The Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg roadshow was making itself known right from the start - they left Lapierre behind on lap two, and were through Premat together a lap later, and then by Jani next time around.

At the front Pla was driving the race of his life, soaking up the early pressure from Piccione despite sliding all over the track. The Frenchman was under enormous pressure after suffering a number of spins in recent races, but looked commanding at the front of the pack.

On lap eight Nelson Piquet Jr spun at turn three behind Borja Garcia, stalling in the middle of the track and prompting the safety car into making an appearance. Bruni came into the pits from third, apparently handed a drive through penalty for a jump start despite his slow pace off the line.

Speed gratefully claimed third spot, and a few laps later the pack was unleashed again, running like a train across the start line on lap eleven. Piccione took the opportunity to push hard on Pla's tail, while Speed was dropping back into the clutches of fourth placed Kovalainen.

Piccione's pressure came to naught - after pushing hard for the lead he suddenly slowed on lap 17, and Speed, Kovalainen and Rosberg were past in successive corners, with Premat following them by a few corners later. The Monegasque driver was soon back in the pits and out of the car, the victim of an unknown malady on his car.

On track the pace was fierce - the top four were running together and covered by less than two seconds, with Speed looking for a way by Pla but also having to protect his position from Kovalainen and Rosberg.

The four slid around the track together for the remaining laps, but Pla was equal to the challenge - he absorbed the pressure and took a tremendous win, crossing the line with Speed, Kovalainen and Rosberg right on his tail.

Behind them Can Artam managed to punt Xandi Negrao off track on the last lap, the second such incident in as many races, but ahead of them Alex Premat and Neel Jani lasted the distance and took the final points paying positions in an eventful race two at Silverstone.

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver      Team                      Time
 1.  Pla         DPR                       40:09.933
 2.  Speed       iSport International      +   0.547
 3.  Kovalainen  Arden International       +   1.220
 4.  Rosberg     ART Grand Prix            +   1.886
 5.  Premat      ART Grand Prix            +   5.549
 6.  Jani        Racing Engineering        +   6.783
 7.  Pantano     Super Nova International  +   8.420
 8.  Carroll     Super Nova International  +  11.278
 9.  Garcia      Racing Engineering        +  12.200
10.  Monfardini  Durango                   +  13.735
11.  Bruni       Coloni Motorsport         +  15.494
12.  Hernandez   Campos Racing             +  23.545
13.  Viso        BCN Competicion           +  29.652
14.  Artam       iSport International      +  37.879
15.  Lauda       Coloni Motorsport         +  38.301
16.  Negrao      Hitech Piquet Sports      +   1 Lap

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

     Driver      Team                    On Lap
     Piccione    Durango                   19
     Sharp       DPR                       18
     Lapierre    Arden International       16
     Piquet Jr.  Hitech Piquet Sports       8
     Alvarez     Campos Racing              5
     Lopez       DAMS                       0
     Yoshimoto   BCN Competicion            0
     Fauzy       DAMS                       0

Fastest Lap: Speed, 1:35.092 on lap 2

2005 Championship Standings, Round 6 (Race 11)

Drivers:               Teams:
 1.  Kovalainen   64    1.  Arden International       76
 2.  Rosberg      44    2.  ART Grand Prix            68
 3.  Speed        41    3.  Super Nova International  44
 4.  Carroll      34    4.  iSport International      43
 5.  Bruni        33    5.  Coloni Motorsport         36
 6.  Lopez        25    6.  DAMS                      25
 =   Jani         25    =   Racing Engineering        25
 8.  Premat       24    8.  Hitech Piquet Sports      19
 9.  Piquet Jr.   18    9.  Durango                   13
10.  Piccione     12   10.  DPR                       11
 =   Lapierre     12   11.  BCN Competicion           10
12.  Pantano      10   12.  Campos Racing              3
13.  Pla           9
14.  Yoshimoto     8
15.  Hernandez     3
 =   Lauda         3
17.  Artam         2
 =   Viso          2
 =   Sharp         2
20.  Monfardini    1
 =   Negrao        1

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