Javier Villa wins GP2 sprint race
Javier Villa easily overpowered the rest of the field to set up his second win of the season in race two at the Nurburgring, leading from start to finish in a show of speed that gave his rivals no hope of challenging for the win.
The victory was set up by a commanding start from pole position, after which he just pulled away lap after lap before slowing in the closing stages to protect his car, eventually crossing the line 3.5 seconds ahead of the fierce battle for second between Kohei Hirate and Kazuki Nakajima.
With Villa making such a storming start, fellow front row starter Adrian Zaugg had no choice but to pull in behind him on the front straight and concentrate on keeping his rivals behind into turn one. Giorgio Pantano made his customary demon start but left his braking too late, dropping back behind Hirate, Pastor Maldonado, Nakajima and Lucas di Grassi as they entered the complex.
The Italian was determined to make up for his mistake and was soon on the attack: he took a lunge at di Grassi at the back of the circuit but the pair came together, with both men sliding wide and giving Timo Glock the simple task of picking up the final points paying position.
Further back Ernesto Viso was trying to show that he was as quick as his race-leading teammate: a fast start had moved him up from fourteenth on the grid to be ahead of ninth placed Nicolas Lapierre, but the Venezuelan left his rival no room at all when he tried to the position back around the outside at the chicane, leaving the Frenchman off track and in retirement within seconds.
By the end of the first lap Villa was 2.4 seconds to the good over Zaugg, who had a train of cars behind him looking for a way through, but in the cold conditions the tyres were unable to offer much support, leaving a lot of drivers staring at a lot of rear wings but with no way to improve the scenery.
The three drivers who started from the back of the grid were all in the wars: Andi Zuber stalled on the grid, necessitating a push start which resulted in a drive through penalty, with Sebastien Buemi picked up the same penalty for a jumped start, while Luca Filippi, the man he took out so spectacularly in yesterday's race was struggling with a car gremlin for a number of laps before stopping on track at turn one.
Kazuki Nakajima was the only man at the front of the field who looked able to overtake today: he slotted inside Maldonado into turn one on lap 15 before pushing up towards his countryman. Hirate clearly took the hint by that point and was pushing to get on terms with Zaugg, who handed him a bonus by throwing his car into the scenery at the hairpin.
The battle between Nakajima and Hirate lasted for the rest of the race, with the former looking far faster but the latter doing just enough to hold on in front.
And so it ended: Javier Villa easily dominated the race before slowing over the closing laps, with Kohei Hirate and Kazuki Nakajima crossing the line behind him almost side by side. Pastor Maldonado was next up, with Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi closing out the points, along with Buemi who claimed the point for fastest lap.
Pos Driver Team Time/Behind
1. Villa Racing Engineering 41:36.640
2. Hirate Trident Racing + 3.589
3. Nakajima DAMS + 4.056
4. Maldonado Trident Racing + 7.710
5. Glock iSport International + 9.301
6. Di Grassi ART Grand Prix + 10.508
7. Pantano Campos Grand Prix + 14.375
8. Viso Racing Engineering + 19.401
9. Rodriguez Minardi Piquet Sports + 21.272
10. Negrao Minardi Piquet Sports + 22.211
11. Yamamoto BCN Competicion + 27.499
12. Garcia Durango + 30.170
13. Soucek DPR + 30.585
14. Carroll Petrol Ofisi FMS + 31.254
15. Conway Super Nova International + 31.285
16. Chandhok Durango + 41.090
17. Petrov Campos Grand Prix + 42.296
18. Bakkerud DPR + 56.390
19. Tahinci Petrol Ofisi FMS + 57.493
20. Buemi ART Grand Prix +1:29.820
21. Zuber iSport +1:36.516
22. Tung BCN Competicion + 3 laps
Driver Team Laps
Zaugg Arden International 15
Filippi Super Nova International 9
Senna Arden International 1
Lapierre DAMS 0