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Rosberg aiming high after GP2 title triumph 30 Sep 2005

Nico Rosberg (GER) ART in the Williams motorhome.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 3 September 2005

Williams test driver Nico Rosberg has boosted his hopes of a full-time Formula One seat by winning the 2005 GP2 championship. Rosberg sealed the title with a convincing victory in the first of two races at this week’s final round in Bahrain.

Rosberg, who officially joined Williams in May of this year, headed into the season decider leading his only title rival, occasional Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen, by just three points.

He extended that advantage to five points on Thursday morning by taking pole position, but with Kovalainen alongside him on the grid there was all to play for in the first of the meeting’s two races. However, Kovalainen was unable to match the German's pace, and eventually finished third behind Rosberg’s ART team mate Alex Premat.

The result meant Rosberg became champion, regardless of the outcome of Friday’s final race. In the end, he won that too, rounding off his 2005 campaign by storming from eighth on the grid to victory, in the process becoming the first driver to win both races at the same meeting.

"I'm so happy - it felt as though the race would never end, it's been a tough season, but now all the pressure has disappeared now and I can really enjoy this special moment," said Rosberg after wrapping up the championship.

"At the start of the season I didn't know what to expect, the line up of drivers and teams looked very competitive and although I was confident I knew it would be difficult," he added.

There had been speculation that Rosberg, whose father Keke won the 1982 Formula One world championship with Williams, might get to make his Grand Prix debut with the team next month in Japan or China, standing in for the injured Nick Heidfeld. That speculation ended this week when Williams confirmed Antonio Pizzonia in the seat for both races.

Nevertheless, with one Williams race seat unconfirmed for 2006 and with the team also likely to need a third driver next season (assuming they remain their current fifth in the constructors’ championship), Rosberg’s hopes of a position in Formula One next year will be high.

The GP2 championship, widely regarded as an obvious stepping stone into Formula One, was introduced this year in place of the FIA Formula 3000 series.