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Filippi capitalises on penalties to win finale

20 September 2009

Luca Filippi brought his 2009 GP2 Series campaign to a close on a high note by claiming a somewhat fortuitous sprint race victory at Portimao.

The Italian, who finished second in the feature race, made the most of a controversial drive-through penalty for six drivers ahead of him to come through and claim his and Super Nova Racing's first win of the season.

The race itself was marred early on by a massive accident involving Vitaly Petrov and Michael Herck, the Russian having stalled his Addax car from fifth on the grid before being hit hard by an unsighted Herck, the Romanian travelling at some speed having started from the back of the field.

Red flagged to ensure both drivers received medical attention, as well as allow marshals to clear the debris that had been scattered across the home straight, the race was restarted soon afterwards with the drivers in the order of where they had been at the time of the stoppage.

It meant pole sitter Andreas Zuber led the way, ahead of Davide Valsecchi, Lucas di Grassi, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado. Sergio Perez had been the big winner from the confusion at the start, catapulting up to seventh from 17th on the grid, while Filippi was eighth.

Wasting no time in getting past Perez at the restart, the move would prove pivotal to the outcome of the race as Filippi was about to assume the lead when all six drivers ahead of him were handed drive-through penalties for passing the safety car before it had safely re-entered the pit lane.

With Zuber, Valsecchi, di Grassi, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg and Maldonado all peeling off gradually over the next few laps, Filippi took a lead he would hold all the way to the chequered flag.

Securing a good points haul for himself, Filippi was joined on the podium by Perez initially.

However, stewards later decided to give the Mexican an effective drive-through penalty post race, translated as 25 seconds, after he was also judged to have overtaken the safety car too early.

As such, Super Nova was able to complete a superb 1-2 result, one that also means they overhaul Racing Engineering for third in the team standings.

As such, third place fell to Dani Clos, the Spaniard scoring his first GP2 points in style at the final time of asking.

Alvaro Parente gave his Portuguese fans something to cheer about with a strong drive to fourth place, while Diego Nunes and Giedo van der Garde completed the final points of 2009 for iSport.

Further back, 2009 champion Nico Hulkenberg was forced to make do with 16th, behind Valsecchi and di Grassi.


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