Adam Carroll’s hopes of race one glory at Monza have been dashed after Giorgio Pantano produced a commanding performance to start from pole position and lead from beginning to end.
An early deployment of the safety car, an agonisingly slow first pitstop and the fall-out from a major crash all contributed to Carroll’s woes in a race where Campos Grand Prix driver Pantano was rarely troubled by his competitors.
It is Pantano’s third straight win at Monza after he recorded a double victory at the historic circuit last year.
Fellow Italian Luca Filippi took second place for his Super Nova team while iSport International’s Timo Glock joined him for third place on the podium despite an early contact with Adrian Zaugg that sent the Arden driver spinning at the first chicane.
Glock’s podium means that his championship rival Lucas di Grassi, driving for ART Grand Prix, has travelled backwards in the standings.
But di Grassi has vowed to fight on, commenting after the race: “We did a good job but we lost eight points with the gearbox on the last lap or so, and I think it’s now ten or eleven points.
“But the championship is still very open and I think we could be in front and what happened to me could happen to Glock in Spa or Valencia.
“The only thing I know is we’re going to stay strong and keep fighting until the last moment of the championship, until the mathematical chances are over.”
Carroll was running fifth after Zaugg’s spin led to the deployment of the safety car and the shake-up of the entire field.
However, on the third lap after racing had re-started, he came in for a pit stop that dropped him to the back of the field. He eventually retired on lap 18 after a mammoth collision between Andy Soucek, running wide at the Parabolica, and Andi Zuba took out his car.
Speaking after the race, Pantano said: “The car was perfect today and I know I have just to go out from the first corner and try to push the maximum I can, and that’s what I’ve done.
“If we have this situation, this condition, there is a good chance to win also tomorrow. If I start in P8 the chance to overtake here is something we have. I know there is Timo and Luca in front tomorrow but we try.”
Carroll wasn’t the only driver to have a disappointing race. Super Nova’s Mike Conway once again failed to complete a lap. This follows his first-corner exit at Istanbul Park.