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Poggiali takes photo-finish victory in Estoril.

Manuel Poggiali beat Youichi Ui to victory in today's Portuguese Grand Prix after a thrilling photo finish saw the San Marian take the flag by just 0.011secs - while the battle for the final podium place was just as intense.

The 125cc front row of Manuel Poggiali, followed Youichi Ui, Simone Sanna and Lucio Cecchinello took their places on the grid with the pole sitting San Marian (starting from the front for the first time) needing a strong result if he was to catch new championship leader Toni Elias (22 points ahead), who was starting from fifth on the grid.

As the lights went out for the start of the 24 lap race, it was Elias who shot to the front, slicing inside Sanna at the first turn, while Poggiali slipped back to fifth.

By the end of the first lap Elias led the pack over the line, with Ui now in second, ahead of Poggiali, with Sanna having slipped to fourth, ahead of Rodriguez, who completed the lead pack.

Into the chicane on lap two and Ui was wasting no time in getting past Elias as the Derbi star cut inside the Honda to take the lead, before the drag race along the one kilometre straight began again.

Shortly after Ui took the lead, Cecchinello lost any chance of keeping in touch with the lead pack as he ran wide, while Elias' Telefonica teammate Joan Olive crashed out.

By lap four Poggiali had used his Gilera's impressive straight-line speed to move into second behind the #41 Derbi, while Elias and Sanna fought it out for third, with Sanna squeezing the 18 year old into turn one.

One lap later and Rodriguez, who had been hanging on impressively to the tail of lead pack, high-sided out of fifth as he exited the first part of the uphill chicane.

Rodriguezs' departure meant that the battle for victory was now a four-way affair with Ui and Poggiali nose-to-tail up front and then Sanna and Elias slightly further behind.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Manuel Poggiali on his way to pole at Estoril.
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