Race No. 1: Round 1

Date: 01 May 2005
Track: Zolder/BEL (3,977 km)
Track / Weather: Dry / Sunny

Toccacelo out on his own

Enrico Toccacelo (Victory Engineering) led from start to finish to take victory in the first race in the 2005 World Series. The Italian driver was joined on the podium by Austrian Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) and Polish driver Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi). The podium thus featured drivers from three different countries and three different teams!

The first moment of drama occurred during the formation lap, when the Australian Will Power (Carlin Motorsport), 4th in qualifying, was forced out due to transmission failure.

Enrico Toccacelo took full advantage of his pole position to keep the lead at the race start. Right from the first lap, the Italian pulled away from Andreas Zuber and Robert Kubica. And with only 19 laps to cover in this first race, spirits were flying high behind the leaders. Jaap Van Lagen (KTR), Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA), Eric Salignon (Cram Compétition) and Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) paid dearly for their overenthusiasm.

After two laps, Enrico Toccacelo had already established a 2.4 second lead over Andreas Zuber. The Austrian was being chased by a group made up of Robert Kubica, Tristan Gommendy (KTR), Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) – who had made a fantastic start from the 6th row of the grid – Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA).

Markus Winkelhock was forced to abandon on lap 4, due to gearbox failure. This left the group of Ryo Fukuda, Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) and Patrick Pilet (Jenzer Motorsport) in the slipstream of Montanari.

Sitting tightly behind Zuber, Kubica appeared to be waiting for the right moment to move past into second. Matteo Meneghello (Eurointernational) went off into the gravel trap (6th lap), but was able to regain the track with the help of the marshals.

The gap between the leader and his two main rivals stabilized after 8 laps. Not too far behind Kubica, Tristan Gommendy continued to lap on his own in 4th position. The dual being fought out for 5th between fellow Spaniards Porteiro and Valles, however, was a different matter entirely!

With five laps to go, Gommendy moved up much closer to Kubica. Behind Porteiro and Valles, Montanari and Pagenaud also closed the gap, Pagenaud having overtaken his team mate Fukuda.

Belgian Frédéric Vervisch (GD Racing), who was lapping among the back markers, span his car, stalling it in the middle of the track in the process. Meanwhile, Dams driver, Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s race ended in the gravel trap. The Italian Ivan Bellarosa’s engine broke down, but technicians at Avelon Formula should be able to manage to change it in time for the second race.

These were the last incidents in this first race, which saw Enrico Toccacelo, Andreas Zuber and Robert Kubica take the honours!

Enrico Toccacelo: “I think that Zuber got off to a better start but I managed to take advantage of pole position to get to the first corner in front. For the first few laps I concentrated on trying to avoid making any mistakes because the track was dirty. After that, I attacked right to the end.”



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