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DATE News (chronologically)
04/12/08
speedcar
Herbert wins again to take first Speedcar title  
Johnny Herbert
Johnny Herbert scored his second race victory of the weekend at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday to seal the inaugural Speedcar Series title.

Herbert actually ended the season level on points with David Terrien, but scored more wins than the Frenchman throughout the season. Title rivals Uwe Alzen and Jean Alesi, who both started the event in stronger points positions, both suffered crashes that put them out of the championship reckoning.

Friday race-winner Herbert started eighth as a result of the reverse grid from the first race, but quickly made two places at the start. At the front, Stefan Johansson took the lead from pole, but the former Ferrari and McLaren grand prix star soon came under pressure from China's Marchy Lee, who passed him at Turn 5 on lap 2 with a strong, but fair, move.

Herbert was also on the move, picking up fifth place from fellow ex-Formula 1 star Gianni Morbidelli at Turn 1 on the second lap. Further back, Terrien had suffered a terrible start, and was working his way through the traffic, as was Alesi, who started 14th after his engine failure yesterday.

Alzen was by far in the strongest position of the title rivals, holding a solid fourth place early on and then picking up a place from front row starter Hasher Al Maktoum, who had been passed by Lee at the second corner when he ran wide.

Herbert was into the groove, setting fastest laps and passing Al Maktoum to run fourth by lap three. Ahead of him, Alzen was racing hard with Johansson, but unable to find a way past. Herbert took advantage of this, and passed Alzen with a smart move into Turn 1. But Alzen didn't need to worry, such was his points lead.

The first title challenger to exit was Alesi. He drove like a lion in the opening stages, rising from 14th to ninth in just a handful of laps. In his rush to get to the front he and Al Maktoum collided, the UAE driver collected him again as he rotated, damaging Alesi's car enough to put it out of the race.

Just two laps later, Alzen's challenge was ended too. He tried to pass Johansson with an ambitious move at the uphill, left-hand hairpin, but Stefan shut the door. The cars made contact, enough to give Alzen a puncture and he headed to the pits. Uwe would rejoin down in 11th, but had no chance of scoring the points he needed.

Even so, Herbert and Terrien needed every point they could get to overhaul him in the title race. Johnny was now up to second, with David a distant third after being held up in the opening stages by Jacques Villeneuve: "Jacques was mad - he pushed me all over the place," said David. "He banged into me at least three times."

Villeneuve's aggression would be his downfall, as the final contact broke his suspension and he went off the track at Turn 16, retiring soon after.

All the while, Lee held the lead, but Herbert was not to be denied. He closed up and passed Marchy with a clean move at Turn 10 with seven laps to go, pulling away to a 6.9sec victory. Terrien also caught and passed Lee to take second, which was enough to draw level on points with Herbert - both on 45 - but Johnny had more second places, which proved decisive.

"Incredible!" said Herbert. "I knew what I had to do this weekend and win both races, but I knew it would be a tall order. I took every chance I had, and a few of the others had their problems. I can't believe the way it happened - to end the season level on points is amazing."

Terrien added: "My car was really fast, although I lacked a little top speed. I pushed really hard at the end, I was an animal with the tires, but Johnny was too far ahead. I'm so glad to be second again, and second in the championship is a great result after I hadn't raced for four years."

Lee was also delighted with his podium finish: "I did a good job today to score a podium. To race against these great drivers is very special, and it's great to come and race at a fantastic circuit like this."

Herbert says he'll be back to defend his title next year, when Speedcar promises a bigger and even better schedule for its second season.

Classification Race 2

Pos Driver Laps Time / Gap
1 Johnny Herbert 19 40:18.738
2 David Terrien 19 6.999
3 Marchy Lee 19 9.381
4 Gianni Morbidelli 19 12.150
5 Nicolas Navarro 19 23.677
6 Fabien Giroix 19 26.238
7 Ananda Mikola 19 28.601
8 JJ Lehto 19 35.176
9 Stefan Johansson 19 43.992
10 Pedro Lamy 19 60.907
11 Uwe Alzen 19 105.098
12 Hasher Al Maktoum 19 1 LAP
Not Classified
Jean Alesi 5 DNF
Ukyo Katayama 2 DNF
Jacques Villeneuve 2 DNF

Fastest Lap Johnny Herbert 2:06.209 on lap 15

Points

Pos Driver R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 TOT
1 J. Herbert 6 2 8 5 4 - 10 10 45
2 D. Terrien 5 5 1 8 10 - 8 8 45
3 U. Alzen 4 10 5 10 - 8 5 - 42
4 J. Alesi 10 8 10 6 - 6 - - 40
5 G. Morbidelli - - - 4 8 10 6 5 33
6 N. Navarro 3 - 2 2 6 2 3 4 22
7 M. Lauda 8 4 6 - - - - - 18
8 A. Mikola 1 6 4 - - 4 - 2 17
9 M. Lee - - - - 5 - 4 6 15
10 F. Giroix - - - - - 5 - 3 8
11 K. Ludwig 2 3 - - - 3 - - 8
12 S. Johansson - - 3 3 - 1 1 - 8
13 H. Al Maktoum - - - 1 2 - 2 - 5
14 J. Villeneuve - - - - 3 - - - 3
15 U. Katayama - 1 - - 1 - - - 2
16 J. Lehto - - - - - - - 1 1

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