Alesi finds his form in Sentul
Jean Alesi charged to his maiden Speedcar Series victory at Sentul, Indonesia today.
The former grand prix winner only qualified eighth, but he stormed through the pack to hit front before half distance. Once in front he controlled the race and maintained a safe gap back to Mattias Lauda in second.
"I am very happy to get my first Speedcar win," said Alesi. "The pace of the race was very fast and the conditions were difficult. I'm glad we didn't have rain in the race, I think it was more enjoyable for everyone in the dry."
Local hero Ananda Mikola had romped away into an early lead at the start, but an unforced error cost him dearly. He braked too late for a chicane, bounced across the grass, and spun as he rejoined the circuit. He dropped down to fourth and later dropped out of contention with a puncture.
Alesi's journey to the front was helped by Alzen and Morbidelli, who both went off on the first lap, and guest star Klaus Ludwig also went off the road on lap two.
Lauda, Stefan Johansson, and Johnny Herbert were all fighting over second place when Johansson was forced wide and lost momentum. This gave Alesi a run at him and the pair went side-by-side until Johansson slid off the road exiting turn three.
Once Mikola had spun out of the lead, Alesi had only to catch and pass Lauda to claim his first Speedcar victory and he was already in the lead with half the race to go.
"It was unfortunate for Mikola," added Alesi. "I was very impressed with his speed today. He just made a small mistake. I did the same thing in Dubai last time."
Lauda held onto second place and Herbert took third, with the battles raging all the way down the field. Johansson, Navarro and Ukyo Katayama traded more paint as they tried to recover from incidents, and Alzen had another spin late on.
The drivers now prepare for the second race of the weekend tomorrow afternoon. This is the first round where points are calculated towards the overall Speedcar Series title and 3 million US dollars in prize money which will be appointed at the end of the season in Dubai on April 12, 2008.