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Roldan Rodriguez claims first GP2 win
Dams’ Kobayashi may have been the quickest man on track today at the opening race of the GP2 Asia Series in China, but it was Roldan Rodriguez who claimed victory at the end of the 34 laps after the Japanese went too wide in the last stages of the event.

When the lights went off, poleman Rodriguez made a good start and kept Kobayashi at bay. However, at the wheel of a very competitive Dams car, the Japanese ace soon put pressure on the Spaniard and took the lead at the end of the first lap. He then drove a clean and consistent race, signing best lap time, until Lap 29 when he went off the line in turn 1. Although he managed to continue, Rodriguez took the lead and crossed the finish line in first position, snatching his first GP2 win.

The race saw two safety cars, the first one after Sergio Perez stopped in the middle of the track. That’s when the leaders decided to pit, Kobayashi keeping the lead even after the restart. The second safety car was deployed after an impressive Sekigushi tried to overtake Filippi. The Japanese and the Italian eventually came together and both men had to retire. After the track was cleared, Kobayashi managed to keep Rodriguez at bay and tried to extend the gap. He pushed a little too hard, almost lost control of his car and the Spaniard drove to victory.

Behind them, Sakon Yamamoto enjoyed his first GP2 podium, signing a third place after he overtook Villa on the first lap, but the best start of the race definitely goes to rookie Earl Bamber. Starting from 9th, the young driver from New Zealand moved up to 6th and managed to keep the pace and finish at that same position. He was followed by another impressive rookie, Chris Van der Drift who benefited from a good strategy and a great driving style to start from 16th and end up in the points in 7th.

The fight for 8th place was something of true GP2 style with four drivers fighting for it and Valsecchi eventually landing the position. The Italian will start from pole position tomorrow on the reversed grid.

Roldan Rodriguez (Piquet GP): “I’m very happy! I pushed all the way and made no mistake. On the first lap, Kamui braked later than me. I saw him far from me and when I looked again he was on my side. I chose to let him through rather than close the door and maybe crash. We pitted at the perfect time: the team made a great job. For tomorrow, I will start 8. I will adopt the same strategy: do the best I can. Of course, I will try and go for a podium. I want to leave Shanghai as the leader of the GP2 Asia Series and go home with two trophies.”

Kamui Kobayashi (Dams): “It’s my fault. I made a mistake, I know it and it’s very frustrating. I had the fastest car, but with the safety car deployed twice, I had to push hard to try and extend the gap with Rodriguez. In the end, a second place is not a bad thing: it’s always good points, but I know I can win races and that’s my unique goal.”

Sakon Yamamoto (ART Grand Prix): “I made a good start. At turn 14, I overtook Villa. I braked as late as possible and it worked. After that, I tried to catch the leaders, but my running pace was not enough to close the gap. We had a great pit stop and I kept my position. I’m happy to have finished third for this race. It’s a good place to start the championship.”

Pos Driver Team
1. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet GP
2. Kamui Kobayashi Dams
3. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix
4. Javier Villa Super Nova Racing
5. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Teams
6. Earl Bamber My Qi-Meritus.Mahara
7 Chris Van der Drift Trident Racing
8. Davide Valsecchi Durango 
9. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams
10. Giedo Van der Garde GFH Team iSport
11. Carlos Iaconelli Durango 
12. Diego Nunes Piquet GP
13. Giacomo Ricci Trident Racing
14. Alex Yoong My Qi-Meritus.Mahara
15. Hamad Al Fardan GFH Team iSport
16. Michael Herck DPR
17. Nelson Philippe ART Grand Prix

Fastest lap time: Kamui Kobayashi (Dams): 1:46.407 on lap 32
Not Classified
Driver Team
Luca Filippi BCN Competicion
Yuhi Sekigushi DPR
Kevin Nai Chia Chen Fisichella Motor Sport Int.
Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion
Andreas Zuber Fisichella Motor Sport Int.
James Jakes Super Nova Racing
Mika Maki Trust Team Arden
Sergio Perez Barwa Int. Campos Team
Luiz Razia Trust Team Arden

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