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Valsecchi wins Monza sprint.


Davide Valsecchi succeeded where fellow Italian Giorgio Pantano failed on Saturday by taking a win on home soil as the GP2 Series brought the curtain down on its 2008 campaign.

Starting from pole, the Durango driver struggled for grip and was jumped, not only by fellow front row man Jerome d'Ambrosio, but also by the fast-starting Roldan Rodriguez, who used the inside line into the Rettifilio chicane to leap from third to first. d'Ambrosio cut the corner, but handed the advantage back to the Spaniard as he rejoined, but then paid the price as Valsecchi passed him into the Roggia chicane - which d'Ambrosio also cut!

The conditions, although not quite as wet as they had been on Saturday, still caught a few out, with Andy Soucek losing his front wing on the back of Karun Chandhok, and the Indian then disappearing deep into the gravel trap at Lesmo 2, effectively handing the team championship to Campos.

iSport's attempts to rein in its Spanish rival also took a hit when Bruno Senna in the midst of the chasing group, narrowly avoiding contact with d'Ambrosio and Romain Grosjean as the trio scrapped over third place. That allowed Mike Conway and Lucas di Grassi, Senna's rival for second in the drivers' standings as well as being the Campos team leader, to close in and, on the next lap, the Briton swept around the outside of his former British F3 team-mate through the Ascari chicane.

Although Senna got his place back on the exit, Conway was not to be denied, and retook the spot at the Parabolica - with de Grassi capitalising by passing his fellow Brazilian down the home straight. Senna then misjudged his braking for the Rettifilio and had to take to the escape road, emerging ahead of his rivals. Although he allowed Conway to regain fourth place, however, the iSport man was not about to be quite so accommodating to di Grassi and the pair were still side-by-side heading into the Roggia, whereupon di Grassi out-braked himself straight into the back of the hapless Conway.

All three protagonists spun, with Senna losing vital places as he attempted to rejoin. It was worse for Conway, however, whose season ended on the spot, while his assailant rejoined, having hardly lost a place. Whether di Grassi or Senna was really to blame for the incident, however, was lost on the stewards, who a few laps to hold the Campos driver accountable and hit him with a drive-thru', all but ending his pursuit of a second successive runners-up spot.

Before the punishment was called, however, di Grassi had moved into fourth, taking advantage of another d'Ambrosio moment, this time exiting the Lesmos, with Pastor Maldonado also finding his way onto the Belgian's tail by the time the three cars reached the Parabolica. Having despatched the DAMS driver - who had earlier lost third to Grosjean - around the outside of Les Combes a week earlier, Maldonado pulled off a similar move into the final corner - before then switching back to the inside mid-turn in an audacious attempt to add di Grassi to his list of victims at the same time. The move only just failed to come off.

By the end of lap seven, Rodriguez enjoyed a one-second lead over Valsecchi, with Grosjean nearly two seconds further back, and the battle for fourth some eight seconds off the pace. Behind the hapless d'Ambrosio, Sebastien Buemi was closing in, with new champion Pantano a little further back, but still hoping for a podium on which to end his GP2 career.

Senna, meanwhile, was up to ninth as he attempted to recover from his spin and deny di Grassi second spot in the championship but, when the Campos driver was called to atone for his contact with Conway, his task became easier - unless, of course, Grosjean continued to make progress....



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Davide Valsecchi - Durango Corse   [pic credit: GP2 Series]
Gustav Malja - Racing Engineering [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Luca Ghiotto - Trident Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Luca Ghiotto - Trident Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Antonio Giovinazzi - Prema Racing
Sergio Canamasas - Carlin
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Sergey Sirotkin - ART Grand Prix

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