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Valsecchi wins Shanghai sprint.

Davide Valsecchi may not quite have picked up from where he left off at Monza in September, but the Italian wasted little time in returning to the top step of the GP2 podium after clinching his second win in the category in the opening sprint race of the new Asia Series in China.

After coming from behind to win the final race of the regular season in Italy, Valsecchi drove from pole to victory in the Sunday morning event at Shanghai International Circuit but, contrary to Monza, had to hold on under great pressure from My Qi-Meritus.Mahara rookie Earl Bamber.

The young Kiwi once again made a strong impression, capitalising on another great start, this time from third on the grid, and using impressive pace to keep tabs on the Durango car and claim a first GP2 podium in only his second race.

As usual, there was much action and drama, first with Mika Maki stalling on the formation lap and, then, with Sakon Yamamoto failing to launch when the lights went off. However, all eyes were on poleman Valsecchi, who initially held off another rookie New Zealander, Chris van der Drift, before Bamber found a way to overtake his countryman in the Trident car.

The opening lap was no less eventful and, while the entire field had escaped problems in the feature race, Diego Nunes spun at turn four, delaying the slow starting Kamui Kobayashi while, further back, Carlos Iaconelli and Giacomo Ricci came together, ending their races prematurely.

While Valsecchi and Bamber pulled away, thanks in the main to the slower van der Drift holding up the rest of the pack, Javier Villa took advantage of the jostling to depose Vitaly Petrov from fourth. Further back, meanwhile, another rookie was showing his overtaking skills, as F3 graduate Sergio Perez made his way from 24th to seventh.

The race quickly went from bad to worse for pre-season favourite Kobayashi, as his car was damaged in a minor collision, eventually leading to his retirement late in the race, but DAMS team-mate Jerome d'Ambrosio was still in the hunt for points, demoting Petrov another place as he moved up to fifth.

What had appeared to be a decent point-scoring exercise for the Russian came to an early end in the later stages as he was forced out with what seemed to be a fuel delivery problem, allowing feature race winner Roldan Rodriguez to claim the final point in sixth place.

At the front, an ecstatic Valsecchi took the chequered flag by nearly five seconds, having finally seen off the challenge of Bamber.



Related Pictures

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Davide Valsecchi - Durango Corse [pic credit: GP2 Series Media]
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 6. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 25 July 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Cars line up on the grid for the race. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering), Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win in parc ferme. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) leads Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates on the podium with Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering). Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Matthew Parry (GBR, Koiranen GP) crashes into a wall. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Race One Press Conference. Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. The Safety car is deployed Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Thursday 20 August 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.

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