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Worldseries by Renault 3.5 - Zolder – Course 2 Kubica’s strategy pays dividends

02.05.2005: Worldseries by Renault 3.5 - Zolder – Course 2 Kubica’s strategy pays dividends

A breath-taking second race in the World Series held the full attention of the 52,000 spectators present at the Zolder circuit. In daring to adopt a different tyre-change strategy to the leaders, the Epsilon Euskadi team helped Robert Kubica to take the win, ahead of Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA).

The formation lap got underway without Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA), who fell victim to engine problems. Ivan Bellarossa (Avelon Formula) was also forced to withdraw, his engine still broken from the first race.

Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) got off to a poor start, allowing Enrico Toccacelo (Victory Engineering) to take the advantage. Right from the word go, Jaap Van Lagen (KTR) was on the attack behind Power. Adrian Valles (Pons Racing), Robert Kubica, Tristan Gommendy (KTR) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) followed behind. The first seven drivers broke away into a compact little group.

After a good start, Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) lost five places, allowing Porteiro, Zuber, Kostka, Miguez and Pavlovic to move up the field.

By the 3rd lap, Toccacelo and Power had managed to create some breathing space between themselves and Van Lagen and the chasing drivers. A lap later, Winkelhock went past Gommendy.

From the 5th lap onwards, the Pit lane was opened for the mandatory tyre changes, which had to be performed before the 18th lap. Toccacelo and Power were still bumper to bumper at this point, but Power made a costly error during the 7th lap, allowing Van Lagen to take second place and pursue the Italian driver.

Felix Porteiro dropped to 5th position, having to give in to Kostka’s aggressive driving. Pavlovic was forced out due to failure, whilst Maldonado’s race ended once again with him stranded in the gravel trap.

In the 14th lap, Eric Salignon (Cram Compétition) crashed at high speed into the tyre wall while Jaap Van Lagen was off the track for his pit stop. Toccacelo, Valles, Chandhok and Vervish were the last drivers to make their stop. Toccacelo and Valles did not come in until the 16th lap. However, it was Robert Kubica, who had stopped very early on, who took the lead. Toccacelo held onto second place in front of Winkelhock, Van Lagen, Zuber, Pagenaud, Valles, Miguez, Pasini and Pilet.

The Safety car was called out onto the track during the 18th lap so that the marshals could remove Salignon’s car and clean up the track surface. Van Lagen put his car into a long spin and with it lost any chance of finishing among the leaders!

The race restarted for five laps that promised to bring a thrilling finish! Nudged by another driver, Toccacelo went off into the gravel trap, whilst Celso Miguez was forced to retire. Behind Kubica, Zuber moved up to second place, over 4 seconds back from the Polish driver.

A nasty-looking accident happened on the 24th lap, with Giovanni Tedeschi crashing into Matteo Meneghello’s car. The red flag was shown, bringing the race to a halt. Fortunately, both drivers walked away unharmed from the incident.

Robert Kubica: "This rounds off what has been an excellent weekend, except for my qualifying times, which were average. I had precious little to lose in this race and so the team attempted a daring strategy which paid off for me in the end."

Markus Winkelhock: "I was unlucky in the first race because I had some gearbox problems. But the team put in some good work and I was confident for the second race. Everything went smoothly."


- Blanca de Foronda -

photos Saturday here

photos Sunday here


02.05.2005 / MaP

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