Since the first GP2 race winner was Heikki Kovalainen, and we all know where he is (though not for how long!), we’ll profile the second race winner: Irishman Adam Carroll.
Carroll won the first sprint race of GP2 history at Imola, after finishing 5th in the previous day’s feature race. Racing for Super Nova, Carroll was one of the most promising drivers of the early GP2 years, coming off a 2nd place finish at the previous year’s F3 UK championship behind Nelsinho Piquet. Carroll ended up in 5th place – winning 3 races in 2005 (Imola sprint, Monaco and Spa sprint), performance that netted him a test driver role with BAR-Honda.
For 2006, Carroll’s lack of full sponsorship landed him in the struggling Racing Engineering team, which had significant backing from Telefónica and Repsol. That year Carroll suffered from inconsistent results, ending up 8th in the championship .
At the end of the year, Carroll once again found himself without sponsors and was only able to compete in the 2007 season when he was picked by Enzo Coloni’s Petrol Ofisi- backed team to replace the underperforming Antonio Pizzonia. Carroll had been racing an old Audi A4 in the DTM championship, without much glory. That year in GP2, Carroll won 2 more races (UK sprint and Hungary feature), finishing 7th despite missing 5 races.
Carroll started 2008 once again without a seat, but was quickly called up once again by Coloni’s FMS team to replace Adrian Valles, result of a pre-season shakeup that involved both Valles and his teammate Andy Soucek. Carroll did not perform well and was ousted after the Monaco race, replaced by well-funded Estonian Marko Asmer.
Apart from GP2, Carroll has put in excellent drives in A1GP with Ireland, winning a total of 4 races, and is currently 2nd in this year’s championship behind Switzerland’s Neel Jani.
A very talented and brave driver, hampered by budget problems throughout his career, yet lacking the results when he had the chances to shine. One of my favourites which I would like to see back in a GP2 car someday, maybe pulling off a “Pantano” (paid drive, championship season)