Asia: Vietoris sails to first victory
1 November 2009
German ace Christian Vietoris led from start-to-finish to claim his maiden GP2 Asia Series victory in Sunday's sprint race at Yas Marina, but the man of the race was once again Davide Valsecchi, who carved his way through from round four to make the podium.
Vietoris made the perfect start from third on the grid, capitalising on slow getaways from front row men Oliver Turvey and Johnny Cecotto to seize the lead into turn one, While the DAMS driver then edged away, behind him the order continued to be shuffled.
Polesitter Turvey's slow start saw him fall to fourth, with Josef Kral (Super Nova) and Alexander Rossi (Ocean Racing) also passing him into the first corner. Cecotto, meanwhile, had an even poorer start in the leading Trident entry, falling to seventh behind feature race heroes Valsecchi and Luca Filippi, who picked up their duel from Saturday in the early stages.
Having led throughout the weekend, however, the iSport racer was on a mission. All over Filippi in the early stages, he eventually got past his countryman at turn eleven on lap 13. The Meritus man then braked way too late to try and retaliate into the following hairpin, but went too wide, spun and lost positions to Cecotto and DAMS' Edoardo Piscopo.
Free from the attentions of his fellow Italian, Valsecchi set his sights on team-mate Turvey, quickly overtaking the Briton for fourth place. The safety car was then deployed when William Bratt collected Fabio Leimer at the end of the back straight, allowing Valsecchi to close the sizeable gap to the top three.
Vietoris and Kral were, at that time, leading comfortably, but had Rossi - who had run a generally lonely race in third - and Valsecchi home in behind the safety car. At the restart, Vietoris easily stayed in control, but Valsecchi got by Rossi, who appeared to be struggling for grip, and then rapidly dropped the American to close in on Kral.
The Super Nova driver tried to resist Valsecchi's repeated assaults, but eventually had to give in on the very last lap - again at the Italian's preferred turn eleven, where he had tricked all his previous victims.
At the chequered flag, Vietoris claimed a first win on his GP2 debut, with Valsecchi and Kral completing the podium. Behind them, Turvey managed to pass a slowing Rossi to return to fourth, while Cecotto finished sixth to claim the last point.
However, with 19 points scored this weekend, Valsecchi is the clear leader of the standings with three double-headers remaining after Christmas, with Vietoris his nearest challenger, ten points adrift. Filippi is third, one point behind the German heading into the break before GP2 Asia returns to Yas Marina for rounds three and four.