Good evening, and welcome to the fifth round of the IJGPC, and the first of the European season. A new development announced prior to the race is the European Trophy, that will be awarded to the person who wins the highest number of races within the European rounds of the championship. Earlier on during free practice series promotor Mathershaw said: 'We felt that the European rounds form the heartland of the championship, so we wanted to make each race that bit more special.' Also, there is the announcement of the Race Winners Cup, which will be awarded to the driver that wins the most races in the whole season.
In glorious Italian sunshine, the Qualifying session began with the Westwood cars looking very strong again, while Fun GP2 looked to recover their form slightly. In the end, however, it was ART's Kraig van Snelheid who took the fastest time in the session, getting pole. Bayurn Zrigovic got 2nd, while Luis Pesdebills put in yet another impressive performance. The rest of the grid is as follows:
Start: Here we go, glorious weather again, the drivers are lined up. 1 light, 2, 3, 4, 5... and it's lights out and away we go! van Snelheid is sluggish in the getaway, and he is overtaken by Zrigovic! Gerrard gets away well, overtaking Stokey, while further back, Vahasoyrinki is slow, and into the Tamburello is overtaken by Certonio. Germund Svensson gets a lightning start! But not as good as Wilkins, who gets onto the outside of him... No, two in to one doesn't go! Svensson spins Wilkins, clumsy move there.
:ap 1: Half way around now, and Gerrard continues his move up the order. Pesdebills is wide into Tosa, and the Liverpool driver slips inside of the Team 23 pilot.
Lap 2: It is announced the stewards are investigating Svensson for his move into the first corner.
Lap 5: Mikko Heininen makes a move on team mate Fischoff, but they are both much faster than Vahasoyrinki ahead, and they both get past him, a magnificent three way move! But it isn't over, Vahasoyrinki is faster into the Variante Alta chicane, and gets back past Fischoff, and the two allow Heininen to escape.
Lap 7: Svensson is given a drive through penalty for his mistake.
Lap 10: Svensson serves his drive through, but his pace has meant he is out in 19th place, not bad at all!
Lap 11: Stokey is under threat from Certonio into Tosa, but there is no chance for the Piuttosto Veloce driver.
Lap 16: Jamie Gerrard is hassling van Snelheid, and onto the home straight gets a better run, and gets on the inside into Tamburello, taking 2nd position.
Lap 20: After half of the race, there is still half to go. The positions are as follows: 1st, Zrigovic. 2nd, Gerrard. 3rd, van Snelheid. 4th, Pesdebills. 5th, Stokey.
Lap 28: It has been quiet so far, with not an awful lot happening, but that seems to be due to the drivers beginning to settle down. NO! I was wrong, just as the race was beginning to die down, Luke Stokey spices things up! He overtakes van Snelheid with a fantastic move into Tosa! He was on the outside of the track, level, but pulled back, switched to the left hand side and dived into the corner, snatching the position from the Dutchman.
Lap 30: Gerrard in second is lapping slightly slower now, and Stokey and van Snelheid are draggin each other along, fast approaching.
Lap 31: Lorenzo Moretti and Callum Brandon have progressed well, taking Dubois and Fischoff in quick succession, both times using their advantage at Tosa and Tamburello respectively.
Lap 35: Disaster for Pesdebills! The suspension of the Team 23 car has failed! It is a real shame for them, he was running so well, and team principal d'Hazorme will be furious, but these are new cars, and hopefully this won't happen too many more times.
Lap 37: Stokey and van Snelheid are right behind Gerrard now. Here we go, the battle the fans have been waiting for since the earlier laps, and the cars make their way towards Tosa, braking from 155 mph down to 60, and Stokey and van Snelheid are either side of Gerrard. Stokey sneaks down the inside, and van Snelheid can't get through around the outside. But Stokey runs wide! Gerrard has to run wide too, as he has nowhere to go, allowing van Snelheid to pass both of the drivers! Thrilling action here!
Lap 39: Stokey has lost Gerrard, and is right on the tail of van Snelheid! Onto the home straight, van Snelheid seems to lose a bit of traction, and Stokey pulls alongside... into Tamburello, on the outside - and he's through! Of course this means Stokey has made it a Westwood 1-2!
Finish: Zrigovic wins the Italian Junior Grand Prix with a dominant performance, he was hardly seen today as he had no competition once he hit the front. Westwood will be ecstatic with this! A 1-2 for the team! van Snelheid finishes in an impressive 3rd, while Gerrard takes 4th again. Certonio is impressive in 5th, while Vahasoyrinki has a solid if unspectacular drive to 6th. Full results:
In terms of the championship, Zrigovic takes a commanding lead, with nearest competitor Heininen 15 points behind. Level with him is Vahasoyrinki, who is still up there after his debut win. Jamie Gerrard is 4th, quietly building up points. At the other end of the spectrum is Michael Wilkins, who is joined by Christos Lostovolos without a single point.
For the teams, the Westwood 1-2 means they lead by 29 points over Morley Engineering, while VW Lucas Wilson are a further 13 points back.
Zrigovic of course leads the European Trophy with this win in the first race, while he also takes the lead of the Race Winner's Cup, with this being his second win of the season, and the first multiple winner in the IJGPC. Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to Round 6, the one everyone wants to win in Monaco!