Luca Ghiotto has taken the first GP2 Series win of his rookie season after resisting the race-long attentions of Raffaele Marciello in the Sepang sprint race, as Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly set up a title showdown in Abu Dhabi.
A three-time podium winner already this season, Ghiotto made the most of his reverse grid front row start to get the better of pole man Mitch Evans off the line before coming out top of a side-by-side tussle with Marciello through the first bends.
From here Ghiotto, runner-up to Manor F1 driver Esteban Ocon in GP3 last season, protected a slim advantage over his fellow Italian and held off a late charge by Marciello to secure Trident Racing's first victory since 2014.
Behind them, the story of the race was Pierre Gasly's charge from 12th on the grid to the podium and his tussle with title rival and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi.
With Giovinazzi triumphing in the feature race – placing him eighth on the grid -, the Italian ran ahead of Gasly early on, but after running wide on the exit of turn three whilst battling with Oliver Rowland, the Frenchman sneaked through.
With the sheer pace of advantage of the Prema cars over their rivals carrying the pair through up to fifth and sixth, Gasly caught the battle for third between Evans and Gustav Malja, the duo easing past and former and then being gifted by the latter when he out-braked himself at turn eight.
Lifting Gasly up to third and Giovinazzi into fourth, the Italian – who began the race with an 11 point lead over his team-mate – got close but would run out of laps to make a realistic bid to pass. Nevertheless, Giovinazzi heads into the final round at Abu Dhabi armed with a seven point lead.
Rapax rookie Malja continued his ascension up the overall order with an eighth straight points' scoring race in fifth, ahead of Evans and Nobuharu Matsushita, who stormed from the back of the grid to secure points in seventh. Rowland ran brightly early on but faded to eighth.
Meanwhile, Jordan King was handed a 10-secs time penalty for punting his team-mate Norman Nato out of the race at the start of lap two.