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Alguersuari all the way in Portimao

2 August 2009

After a successful F1 debut led to a maiden World Series by Renault pole on Friday, Carlin Motorsport's Jaime Alguersuari finally tasted victory by dominating race two of the weekend at Portimao in Portugal.

Starting from his pole position, the Catalan finished ahead of Tech 1 Racing's Charles Pic and KMP Group/SG Formula's Guillaume Moreau, and moved into third place in a championship he still intends to complete despite his F1 commitments. Alguersuari is now 36 points behind overall leader Bertrand Baguette.

Despite being weakened by a cold, Pic got the better start and finished the first lap ahead of Alguersuari and Moreau - who had got the better of Carlin Motorsport's Oliver Turvey at the end of the pit-straight - but went wide on the second lap, allowing Alguersuari to get the better of him. The Carlin driver then took control of the race, while Pic had to hold off Moreau, Turvey, Baguette and Epsilon Euskadi's Dani Clos.

As solid as ever, Alguersuari set one fastest lap after another, building up his lead over Pic to more than five seconds by the halfway mark, while Moreau remained one second behind his countryman, preventing Pic the chance to concentrate on his pursuit.

Ten minutes from the finish, however, the safety car put in an appearance after a collision between race one winner, Comtec Racing's Jon Lancaster, and Moreau's KMP Group/SG Formula team-mate Anton Nebylitsky. The Russian had been unable to avoid the British driver when he lost control, spinning his car, and the pace needed to be controlled while the resulting mess was cleared away.

The race resumed for just two laps and, while Pic had clawed back Alguersuari's lead at the restart, the Spaniard took a great line on the exit of the first corner and reclaimed first place, which he held to the end.

“The race was very tight," the winner admitted, "Charles overtook me at the start, then the safety car came out, but, in the end, I got the upper hand. The car was really good today, we've really made progress, and the World Series allows me to gain experience I need, particularly for F1.”

Pic confirmed that he was still feeling the effects of his cold, and was therefore delighted to have made it to the podium.

“I've not been well since Wednesday and, with such hot weather, the two races haven't been easy for me," the Tech 1 pilot confessed, "The last few laps were very difficult, both this morning and this afternoon, so I'm very happy with this result. Jaime was just too fast for me today, so it makes sense that he won.”

Moreau, meanwhile, gave series newcomer KMP Group/SG Formula its first podium since graduating to the category at the start of the season.

“It's a very good result for the team," WSbR veteran Moreau admitted, "It's not easy to win a championship that's already started, but we've worked hard, the team is learning with each race and, today, our effort paid off. It's very encouraging for the future.”

Behind the leading group, Clos managed to overtake Baguette for fifth on the third lap, before the Belgian hit back, passing both the Spaniard and Turvey to claim fourth place. While Pons Racing's Marcos Martinez ruled himself out of contention with a mistake that put his car out of the race, things were looking better for fellow Spaniard Miguel Molina who, having battled with Clos for much of the race, came into his own after the safety car pulled off. The Ultimate Signature driver may only have had a couple of laps, but passed both Clos and Baguette to move up to fourth place by the chequered flag.

Fifth was nevertheless a solid result for Baguette, who leaves Portugal with a 31-point lead over P1 Motorsport's James Walker, the Jerseyman having had a poor weekend by his standards, finishing eighth in race two, behind Turvey and Chris van der Drift. Clos and Daniil Move rounded out the top ten.