Former grand prix winner Jean Alesi charged his way through the pack to win Saturday's Speedcar Series race at Dubai Autodrome, to add to his victory from the previous day.
Alesi, who started seventh on the reversed grid, pulled off some trademark stunning passing maneuvers as he carved through the field. It was a closely-matched race, however, with just seven seconds covering the top four after 40 minutes of racing.
Pole-sitter Damien Pasini led from the rolling start, but blatantly jumped the gun as he pulled out a big lead on his pursuers. Not only did he then quickly slip backwards through the pack on the opening lap, he received a drive-through penalty for his troubles.
Qatar race-winner Gianni Morbidelli led at the end of the opening lap, ahead of Johnny Herbert, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, David Terrien and Christopher Zoechling. Alesi was sixth at this point, but wouldn't stay there for long.
Alesi passed Zoechling for fifth on lap three, after which Zoechling promptly spun and was hit by Vitantonio Liuzzi, putting Liuzzi out with a broken left-front wheel. Alesi rattled off a sequence of fastest laps before passing Terrien for fourth on lap seven. Next in his sights was Frentzen, who he out braked in superb style into Turn 1 on lap nine.
Herbert was now in Alesi's sights, and Jean passed him with a brave lunge entering the 'bowl bend'. By this point, Alesi's car was leaking oil, which was making his efforts all the more amazing - and spectacular as smoke was pluming from the rear of his car in the corners.
Now the only man between Alesi and a famous double victory was Morbidelli, who was over 2secs up the road. Despite his smoky car, Alesi chased him down and took the lead with another great pass at Turn 12 with eight laps remaining. Now the only question was whether his car would blow-up before the finish, but fortunately Jean was able to drive it home for his second win of the weekend.
"That was a great race," said Alesi. "Honestly, I have to say Gianni and Johnny and everyone were extremely fair, and respected the fact I had a quicker car than they did. I think it was a superb show."
When asked about the smoke, Alesi replied: "I have no idea what it was! I thought, okay, I will carry on until the car stops or I see the checkered flag.'"
Second-placed Morbidelli shed some light on the situation, and said: "Jean's car was leaking a lot of oil, and I lost 2-3secs after he passed me. But second place for my championship lead is just great."
Herbert hounded Morbidelli to the finish, but admitted: "I was never close enough to pass him. It was to-and-fro between us, and it's a good result for my chances of retaining my Speedcar title. It's going to be one hell of a title fight!"
Frentzen finished fourth, despite being punted into a spin by Terrien at Turn 10. Behind Terrien, Thomas Biagi, Marchy Lee and MotoGP star Marco Melandri, who was delayed by a huge first-corner slide, rounded out the point scorers.
Alesi has rocketed up to third in the point's standings, nine points behind series leader Morbidelli and just two behind second-placed Herbert. There is just one race weekend remaining until the end of the second season of Speedcar Series.
Race 2 Classification
Time / Gap
H. Al Fardan
Fastest Lap J. Alesi - HPR 1:42.438 on lap 8
Drivers' Championship Standings in Round 4, Race 8
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