Johnny Cecotto jr. storms to victory in frenetic GP2 feature race

A cunning strategy enables the Venezuelan driver shine at Hockenheim

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21 July 2012 - 17:17

Venezuela’s rising star Johnny Cecotto jr. has stormed to his second GP2 race victory of the 2012 season, after a cunning strategy was played out by the Barwa Addax driver. Whereas the rest of the field opted for wet tyres at the start, Cecotto opted for the dry tyres which enabled him to surge through the field as the track dried out.

The start was surprisingly clean and relatively incident free, with only Tom Dillmann spinning through turn 3. At front of the field, Dutchman Nigel Melker took the lead away from pole man and fellow countryman Giedo van der Garde, with Fabio Leimer following the Ocean Racing Technology driver through into 2nd.

With the track quickly drying out, the drivers who had started on the wet tyres began to struggle for grip as their wet tyres began to overheat. Only four laps into the race, and Nigel Melker’s lead was snatched away from him by the Racing Engineering of Fabio Leimer. The Caterham of Giedo van der Garden also sneaked around his fellow countryman, as Melker dropped from 1st to 3rd in a matter of minutes.

By lap 5, the track was clearly ready for dry tyres. Both Johnny Cecotto jr. and Stephane Richelmi were scything through the field like hots knives through butter, with Cecotto making up numerous positions through the stadium section of the circuit as others squirmed around on the track fighting for grip.

Whereas Cecotto and Richelmi crossed the line to assume the first two positions, the majority of the field elected to pit. This caused chaos within the pits, as the mechanics earned their pay with many teams carrying out two pit stops back-to-back for each of their drivers. Fabio Onidi came unstuck during this period, as the Italian driver was issued a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits.

Ricardo Teixeira was issued the black flag and subsequently disqualified from the race when he failed to take his drive-through penalty. The Portuguese-Angolan driver was initially issued a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, but after the Rapax driver failed to take his penalty within three laps, the driver was disqualified.

Davide Valsecchi’s race was one for the Italian driver to forget, as he firstly made light contact with the rear of Stefano Coletti, thus damaging the front of his car, before proceeding to run off the track on several occasions. After an exceedingly dominant start to the season for Valsecchi, such an uncompetitive result will be frustrating for the DAMS driver.

On lap 23, Stephane Richelmi finally made his one and only pitstop. The Trident Racing driver initially lost several positions thanks to his stop, but he was able to battle back through the pack to eventually finish 3rd. Luckily for Cecotto, the Venezuelan driver was able to complete his one and only stop on lap 24 without loosing the lead. After fending off a surging Fabio Leimer, Cecotto proceeded to scamper away from the Swiss driver.

Victor Guerin beached his Ocean Racing Technology car in the gravel at turn 12, after spinning off. Apart from Teixeira’s disqualification, this was the only retirement from the race. As Johnny Cecotto jr. crossed the line to take a memorable victory ahed of Leimer and Richelmi, the usual made dash throughout the closing stages ensued further back.

Expect further spills and thrills during tomorrow morning’s sprint race, as the top 8 from today’s race gets reversed.

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PosDriverTeamTime
01. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 38 laps - 58m16.075
02. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering +9.609
03. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing +14.987
04. Felipe Nasr DAMS +21.459
05. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing +27.885
06. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology +29.260
07. Luiz Razia Arden International +29.573
08. James Calado Lotus GP +29.950
09. Tom Dillmann Rapax +31.978
10. Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus GP +32.373
11. Marcus Ericsson iSport International +33.798
12. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team +39.284
13. Davide Valsecchi DAMS +46.854
14. Max Chilton Carlin +51.305
15. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering +55.440
16. Simon Trummer Arden International +55.707
17. Rio Haryanto Carlin +56.284
18. Jolyon Palmer iSport International +62.119
19. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni +68.223
20. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni +78.043
21. Julian Leal Trident Racing +78.945
22. Sergio Canamasas Venezuela GP Lazarus +80.866
23. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing +90.812
24. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Lazarus +1 lap
25. Victor Guerin Ocean Racing Technology DNF
26. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax DNF

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