James Calado wins action-packed race 2 in Malaysia

GP3 graduate wins as Valsecchi barrel-rolls his DAMS car!



25 March 2012 - 08:36
James Calado wins action-packed (...)

British GP3 graduate James Calado has won race 2 at Malaysia in the opening race weekend of the 2012 GP2 Championship, coming home two seconds ahead of his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez in a Lotus GP 1-2 finish. Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr came home 3rd, meaning two drivers’ on the podium were rookies.

The race got off to a usual dramatic start, as Johnny Cecotto jr. stalled on the grid and had to restart from the pits on lap 1. Further up the field a battle between race 1 winner Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi was unfolding, with Fabrizio Crestani close behind the pair. The Italian driver went a little over the top, however, and surged up the inside of Valsecchi into turn 1, loosing a piece of his front wing. This move earned him a drive-through penalty, which demoted the Venezuela GP Lazarus driver to the back of the pack.

Ricardo Teixeira was lucky not to receive a drive-through penalty as well, as the Angolan driver spun at turn 15 and rejoined the track by running in the opposite direction down one of the tracks escape roads. Luckily no cars were coming towards the Rapax car as he rejoined.

After a strong showing in practice on Friday, Jolyon Palmer’s weekend failed to improve as the iSport International driver ran straight on a turn 4 whilst trying to pass Nigel Melker. The British driver was able to rejoin the track, albeit a few places lower down the order.

As the race progressed, the cars became evenly spread out on the track, with not many battles for position ensuing towards the sharp end of the pack. However, that all changed as the battle between Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi continued, with the DAMS driver sticking his car up the inside heading into turn 4. Unfortunately, Valsecchi out-braked himself and ran wide, gifting the position back to Razia as the Italian bumped back on the track.

Davide Valsecchi’s race then ended in spectacular fashion as the Italian driver was tipped into a barrel-roll by the iSport International of Marcus Ericsson. Luckily for both drivers, they emerged from their cars unscathed as the marshals completed an excellent job of clearing both cars quickly without the need for a Safety Car.

As the stricken cars of Valsecchi and Ericsson were cleared, Rodolfo Gonzalez spun his Caterham at turn 15 as the Venezuelan driver continued a miserable weekend. Further up the field, a battle between Berthon and Chilton was starting to emerge for 8th, with both quickly catching the Scuderia Coloni of Stefano Coletti. As the three took turn 4, Berthon took Chilton and Coletti, only for Berthon and Coletti to run wide, gifting the positions’ to Chilton. After a frenetic couple of seconds, Chilton had moved up to 7th with Berthon 8th and Coletti struggling back in 9th.

As the race entered the closing laps, Stefano Coletti retired after entering the pits, the Monegasque driver loosing several more places beforehand. Luiz Razia continued a strong weekend for Arden as he passed Fabio Leimer for 5th in the closing stages.

However, as the dark clouds loomed overheard, the top 3 remained unchanged as James Calado took a stunning debut victory in GP2 ahead of his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez and Felipe Nasr.

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1. James Calado Lotus GP 22 laps - 41:08.048
2. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP +2.004
3. Felipe Nasr DAMS +3.440
4. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing +10.760
5. Luiz Razia Arden International +11.430
6. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering +14.689
7. Max Chilton Carlin +15.685
8. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering +16.578
9. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team +18.175
10. Rio Haryanto Carlin +24.033
11. Tom Dillmann Rapax +24.086
12. Jolyon Palmer iSport International +25.547
13. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni +32.206
14. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology +34.500
15. Julian Leal Trident Racing +34.629
16. Simon Trummer Arden International +35.226
17. Jon Lancaster Ocean Racing Technology +40.340
18. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing +44.700
19. Stephane Richelmi Trident Racing +47.133
20. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Mazarus +70.466
21. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus +81.035
22. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team +1 lap
23. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni DNF
24. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax DNF
25. Marcus Ericsson iSport International DNF
26. Davide Valsecchi DAMS DNF


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