Race winner Davide Valsecchi has become the first driver to be confirmed to the 2009 GP2 Series grid after having his contract with Durango Corse extended.

Valsecchi made his debut for the Italian team in last year's Asia Championship, the former World Series race winner going on to finish eighth overall after a series of points finishes.

However, his aspirations in the main championship were stymied early on when he suffered a high-speed crash at Istanbul, an incident that ruled him out of action for several races.

Although he suffered a similarly heavy crash at Spa later in the year, Valsecchi returned for the next round at Monza to claim his maiden victory on both his and Durango's home soil. Now he has been rewarded for his efforts with a chance to shine again in 2009.

"I always had a very good time with Durango last season, like they say during the wedding ceremonies, both in the good and in the bad circumstances. So for me to stay has been a logical choice, with the aim to completely deliver, during the next season, the job compromised this year because of the Istanbul accident."

Although Durango struggled to match their form from 2007, Valsecchi regularly challenged for points, unlike his team-mate Alberto Valerio, who failed to score. An announcement regarding Valsecchi's team-mate will come in due course.

"To retain Davide, as Durango driver, for the next GP2 Asia and Main championships makes me not only very satisfied but very proud as well," team manager Ivone Pinton added. "I am sure that we will enjoy a lot and we will get many more satisfactions like the one we got last week in Monza."

As well as the deal to race in the main series, Valsecchi will be out in the older GP2 machine later this month in readiness for the Asian Series. In the meantime, he will begin post-season testing at Paul Ricard, being joined by BCN driver Carlos Iaconelli.

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