Davide Valsecchi wins Shanghai sprint race
It seems like Davide Valsecchi is making Sunday wins his specialty. After he dominated the last race of the GP2 Series in Monza last month, he drove from pole to victory in this morning’s sprint race in the opening event of the GP2 Asia Series. However, he had to hold on great pressure from My Qi-Meritus.Mahara’s Bamber. The young Kiwi once again left a really strong impression after another great start and an impressive pace that allowed him to finish second hence snatching his first GP2 podium.
As usual, there was much action and drama first with Mika Maki stalling on the pre-grid and then Sakon Yamamoto failing to launch when the lights went off. However, all eyes were on poleman Valsecchi who held off Van der Drift while Earl Bamber found a way to overtake the Trident racer. On turn 4, Diego Nunes span and although no car touched him, Kamui Kobayashi whose start had not been good lost another couple positions. Further back, Iaconelli and Ricci came together, ending both of their races prematurely.
Soon enough, Javier Villa overtook Petrov for 4th while Valsecchi and Bamber pull away thanks to a slower Van der Drift holding up the rest of the pack. Another rookie showed his overtaking skills: Sergio Perez. Starting from 24th, the youngest driver of the grid made his way up to 7th. On the other hand, the race went from bad to even worse for Japanese ace Kobayashi as his car was damaged in a small collision. He unfortunately retired in the final stages of the event. His teammate on the other fought his way back to 5th notably through a strong move on Petrov. The Russian later had to retire on what seemed to be a fuel delivery problem. At the chequered flag, a ecstatic Valsecchi took victory ahead of Earl Bamber and Javier Villa in spite of a small mistake in the second-to-last lap. Van der Drift took fourth, d’Ambrosio fifth while yesterday’s winner Rodriguez grabbed the remaining point.
After this first round, Roldan Rodriguez is leading Javier Villa by 13 points to 10, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi just 1 point behind the young Spaniard. Earl Bamber is fourth with Davide Valsecchi and Sakon Yamamoto behind him.
Davide Valsecchi (Durango): “I was worried about the start because it’s not my strongest point. But today, I managed to keep my position. Then I decided to push for two laps in order to stay in front. In the first half of the race, I wasn’t so competitive, but then it got better. Next race, I want to stay in the Top 5 because I strongly believe this is our position in the championship. If I want to win a Saturday race, I will have to qualify well. That is the key.”
Earl Bamber (My Qi-Meritus.Mahara): “We came with no expectation: I have not a lot of experience. We didn’t get the best launch: I managed to box Petrov behind Van der Drift. Then I had a lot of grip on the outside. That’s how I got in P2. It’s a fantastic result for the team. Now I’ll take it race by race. That’s the best approach. Let’s hope the good results continue.”
Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing): “It was a great race. I overtook Vitaly and was behind Van der Drift. I lost a lot of time trying to overtake him and once I did, I pushed really hard to close the gap with Bamber. That’s how I made my small mistake. That’s part of the race. I finished P4 yesterday and on the podium today. I’m still improving.”