Barcelona: Title glory for Montagny
|Sunday, October 5th 2003, 16:35 GMT|
Franck Montagny became the Superfund World Series by Nissan champion with a dominant win at Barcelona. The Gabord Competicion driver made an exemplary start to lead into the first corner and was never headed in the 17-lap sprint race. The win ensured him the title, and he showed his delight by slowing across the line to stop in front of his pits before smoking his tyres as he set off on an emotional in-lap.
He said: "I have to say a big thank you to Gabord. They are the best team I have ever worked with. It was a magic race for us and I am very happy."
Montagny's celebrations appeared tame compared to those of race two winner, Ander Vilarino. It was the Epsilon Euskadi driver's first ever win in the series and he wowed the crowd by performing a series of 'doughnuts' in front of the main grandstand at the end of the race.
Vilarino said: "This is an extraordinary feeling. I said after the third place in Austria that I was going to try to win some of the remaining races. One win, one pole and a second is amazing. This championship has some good drivers and I have shown when the car is good I can race with them."
Vilarino finished a comfortable second in race one after Tata Team Carlin's Narain Karthikeyan made a small mistake and ran wide, dropping him back from third to fourth, handing a podium finish to the second Epsilon car of Jean Christophe Ravier.
Karthikeyan pushed Vilarino hard in the second race, and looked set to snatch the lead during the pitstops, but he was baulked on his in-lap by KTR's Felix Porteiro.
He said: "I didn't get a good in-lap and that was that. Still I am happy to be second in the championship. We have a good car in qualifying, we just need to improve it for the races."
Third place in race two went to GD Racing's Enrique Bernoldi, who took advantage of Ravier's engine problems to clinch a place on the podium. It was GD's first top three result of the year. Bernoldi said: "I was the quickest car on the track in the end and I tried to push hard to put some pressure on Karthikeyan, but he didn't make a mistake."
Montagny followed Ravier home to take fifth, but the result hardly mattered as the championship was already won. Now there are two rounds left to go, the new champion insists that he will not be taking it easy.
"I hope we are going to win in Valencia and Jarama," Montagny said.
His rivals have been warned.
World Series Race 1
Pos Driver Team Team (difference)
1 Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 26m47.022s
2 Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi +11.124s
3 Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +20.363s
4 Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin +31.225s
5 Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +35.155s
6 Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +36.264s
7 Bas Leinders Racing Engineering +36.727s
8 Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport +38.390s
9 Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing +44.228s
10 Felix Porteiro KTR +44.668s
11 Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +44.979s
12 Jose Marie Perez Aicart Adrian Campos Motorsport +55.381s
13 Paul Edwards KTR +1m16.097s
World Series Race 2
Pos Driver Team Team (difference)
1 Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 38m43.580s
2 Narain Karthikeyan Tata Team Carlin +2.037s
3 Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +2.606s
4 Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +11.016s
5 Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion +11.299s
6 Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +29.360s
7 Paul Edwards KTR +47.239s
8 Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +48.053s
9 Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport +1m06.273s
10. Jose Marie Perez Aicart Adrian Campos Motorsport +1m06.847s
11. Angel Burgueno Respol Racing for Spain Vergani +1m07.182s
12 Didier Andre Saulnier Racing +1m07.649s
13 Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport + 4 laps
14 Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport + 4 laps