Premat Leads ART 1-2

Alex Premat and Nico Rosberg, who started on the back row in race one after their team was penalised for a technical infraction, resuscitated their weekend by taking first and second places in race two ahead of Giorgio Pantano

Premat Leads ART 1-2

The ART pair were handed an early present when polesitter Xandi Negrao stalled on the warm up lap and was pushed into the pitlane, and they slotted in immediately behind front row starter Olivier Pla and Ernesto Viso into turn one after the lights went out at the start of the race.

Behind them Scott Speed stalled on the grid but eventually got away. The space gave him the ability to run the fastest lap on the second time through, but he was into the pits on the next lap for a slow stop.

At the front of the race Pla was pulling away on a Sunday morning once again, with Viso seemingly unable to do anything about the Frenchman's pace. Viso, who looked extremely fast for most of race one, dropped back like a stone on lap three, and was soon into the pits and another bitter retirement.

Premat was now up to second place, but he was some five seconds behind Pla, who looked set for his third race win in a row. The gap had widened by another second when, on lap six, Jose Maria Lopez lost the rear of his car and pitched into another spin into the wall, prompting his second safety car in as many days.

Four laps later they were released, with the gap between Pla and Premat reduced to almost nothing, but it didn't seem to bother Pla as he set about pulling away from his countryman once again.

Behind them Pantano was keeping Rosberg honest, even if he couldn't quite get next to him, but behind them Heikki Kovalainen was trying everything he could think of to get past Neel Jani, who was driving completely different lines on track and leaving no chance open for the Finn to get by.

Juan Cruz Alvarez however did find a way to overtake - he was able to sail past Gimmi Bruni after the safety pulled in, and was pushing up towards the points paying positions.

On lap 15 Clivio Piccione pushed hard to try and take tenth place off Adam Carroll into turn one, but he outbraked himself and ran wide, handing Nelson Piquet and Ferdinando Monfardini a free position just by being there.

Just one lap later Pla suddenly slowed, clearly suffering a fatal malady on his car, and pulled off to the side of the road. He couldn't get far enough away from the track, however, and the safety car was employed once again.

Piccione and Negrao took the opportunity to come into the pits next time by, Piccione to change his nose after an impact with Carroll, nd the top six got ready for a last ditch attempt to improve their positions. On lap 22 they were released once more, but no one was able to find a line through the man in front.

And just two laps later it was all over - Premat took the chequered flag just ahead of teammate Rosberg, with Pantano falling just off the pair but ahead of Jani, who once again absorbed race long pressure from Kovalainen to keep his position.

Nicolas Lapierre took a point for sixth place, just ahead of an unlucky Alvarez, and Piccione claimed two by taking the fastest lap of the race on the final one.

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver      Team                      Time
 1.  Premat      ART Grand Prix            45:05.029
 2.  Rosberg     ART Grand Prix            +   0.404
 3.  Pantano     Super Nova International  +   1.984
 4.  Jani        Racing Engineering        +   3.654
 5.  Kovalainen  Arden International       +   4.539
 6.  Lapierre    Arden International       +   5.349
 7.  Alvarez     Campos Racing             +   5.974
 8.  Bruni       Coloni Motorsport         +   6.429
 9.  Carroll     Super Nova International  +   7.133
10.  Piquet      Hitech Piquet             +   8.028
11.  Monfardini  Durango                   +   8.540
12.  Artam       iSport International      +  10.158
13.  Fauzy       DAMS                      +  12.873
14.  Lauda       Coloni Motorsport         +  13.659
15.  Negrao      Hitech Piquet Sports      +  17.888
16.  Piccione    Durango                   +  20.679
17.  Yoshimoto   BCN Competicion           +  23.741
18.  Hernandez   Campos Racing             +  1 Lap
19.  Speed       iSport Internationa       +  2 Laps

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

     Driver      Team                   On Lap
     Pla         DPR                      16
     Lopez       DAMS                      6
     Garcia      Racing Engineering        4
     Viso        BCN Competicion           4
     Mondini     DPR                       2

Fastest Lap: Piccione, 1:34.336 on lap 25

2005 Championship Standings, Round 8 (Race 15)

Drivers:              Teams:
 1.  Kovalainen  79   1.  ART Grand Prix            115
 2.  Rosberg     72   2.  Arden International        92
 3.  Speed       50   3.  Super Nova International   62
 4.  Premat      43   4.  iSport International       52
 5   Jani        40   5.  Racing Engineering         44
 6.  Carroll     34   6.  Coloni Motorsport          36
 7.  Bruni       33   7.  Hitech Piquet Sports       26
 8.  Pantano     28   8.  DAMS                       25
 9.  Lopez       25   9.  DPR                        20
10   Piquet Jr.  24  10.  Durango                    15
11.  Pla         18   =   BCN Competicion            15
12.  Piccione    14  12.  Campos Racing               3
13   Lapierre    13
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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