GP2 » 7 June 2009
di Grassi wins Istanbul sprint.
Having inherited pole thanks to the stewards, Lucas di Grassi finally opened his win account for the 2009 season by dominating proceedings in race two of GP2's Istanbul weekend, leading the field from lights to flag to put himself on top of the podium between Javier Villa and Vitaly Petrov.
The Brazilian, who has struggled with misfortune through the opening rounds, led away from pole when the lights went out, and that was the closest the rest got to him all race. Behind the Brazilian, meanwhile, Saturday podium finishers Davide Valsecchi and Luca Filippi resumed their battle from late in race one, only to came together at turn one.
Valsecchi was spun around and made contact with Andreas Zuber, while Filippi had his rear tyre shredded and had to limp almost the entire lap back to the pits for a replacement. Valsecchi was out on the spot, but both Filippi and Zuber were able to resume their quest.
At the front, di Grassi was clearly determined to break his pursuers' spirits, and set a string of fastest laps with Javier Villa the only driver who could stay within sight of the red-and-yellow machine - albeit only just. Feature race winner Vitaly Petrov took advantage of the Valsecchi-Filippi melee and a late first lap pass on both ART cars to squeezed in behind the leading pair - despite starting eighth - but didn't have the pace to stay with either.
With the front men stringing out, the battle to watch was further back between Edoardo Mortara, Diego Nunes, Alvaro Parente and Romain Grosjean for ninth place. The Italian rookie managed to hold on to the end, despite race long pressure from Parente, while the championship leader - recovering from a ten-place grid penalty that compounded his race one retirement - was unable to find a way by any of his competitors, eventually coming home in twelfth spot
When the flag dropped it, di Grassi was almost four seconds ahead of Villa, with Petrov 1.5secs further back after claiming third. Nico Hülkenberg and Pastor Maldonado both claimed further points for ART, although either could have had a podium had they not been jumped by Petrov on lap one, while Alberto Valerio took more points for Piquet GP with his second solid run of the weekend.
Petrov's second Turkish podium gave him the championship lead from Addax team-mate Grosjean, with the Russian nosing ahead by 33 points to 31. di Grassi's victory, meanwhile, moves him up to sixth spot with 16 points, two points behind Jérôme d'Ambrosio - who had a scoreless weekend along with DAMS team-mate Kamui Kobayashi - and one off the ART pair of Hülkenberg and Maldonado.
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