GP2 France spint race: Villa’s maiden win

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Javier Villa became the seventh different GP2 winner in as many races with a cool win in damp conditions at Magny-Cours.

Villa took the win after early leader Nicolas Lapierre crashed out – and gave his Racing Engineering team a boost after team mate Ernesto Viso’s frightening crash yesterday.

Despite the damp track there was no repeat of yesterday’s first-lap carnage. Pole sitter Nicolas Lapierre drove smoothly into the lead followed by fellow front row occupant Javier Villa.

But there was another inter-team clash as Bruno Senna dived down the inside of Arden team mate Adrian Zaugg at Chateau d’Eau. He pushed Zaugg off and the South African later retired.

On lap two Luca Filippi slotted into third place ahead of race one winner Giorgio Pantano but Senna dropped back to eighth by running wide at Imola.

Senna fought back, passing Mike Conway for seventh place. He then got ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Conway also profited as the Venezuelan locked up and ran wide. But Senna then ran wide again, allowing the pair past.

Lapierre looked completely untroubled in the lead – until he shot off the track without warning on lap 17. He approached the Adelaide hairpin as usual but locked up hard, tripped across the gravel trap and into the barrier.

At the same corner on the next lap Lucas di Grassi made a forceful lunge past Vitaly Petrov to take fourth. Lapierre’s misfortune had promoted Conway into the points but the Briton was out of the luck once again – joining Lapierre in retirement with car problems.

Senna was fighting back and once again got past Maldonado for sixth, with Kazuki Nakajima following him through. The pair caught Petrov and as Senna tried to pass the Russian on the final lap Nakajima darted through to take the final points-paying position. Adding insult to injury, Senna spun off.

Despite the threat of more rain and an ever-closing Filippi Villa kept calm to take his first GP2 victory. It put smiles back on the faces of the Racing Engineering crew after Viso’s horror crash yesterday.

Filippi, second, is now eight points behind championship leader Timo Glock, who retired from the race. Pantano was on the podium again ahead of di Grassi, Petrov and Nakajima.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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