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GP Week : Issue 40
Petrov wins the battle, who will win the GP2 Asia war? A THRILLING weekend of GP2 Asia racing has resulted in the championship going down to the wire. The first race started without its poleman Jerome d’Ambrosio, right, who was left distraught and inconsolable after a driveshaft failure on his lap to the grid forced him into retirement before the lights had even gone out. It was a bitter pill for the Belgian to take having taken his first ever GP2 pole on Friday. All that left second placed driver Diego Nunes to fend off the challenges of his rivals into Turn 1, which the Brazilian did with consummate ease, leading Petrov and Kobayashi for the opening laps. With the Russian and Japanese drivers fighting over second, Nunes was able to pull out a gap at the front, and as the pitstops started to play out, Nunes emerged with his de facto lead still in tact, setting himself up for his first GP2 win. Third place starter James Jakes had to recover from a slow start, working hard to move past his counterparts in the opening half of the race. He emerged from his sole pitstop wheel-to-wheel with Kobayashi, right, and the duo battling hard for second position. In the end the British driver thought it best to hold onto a best result of third place, behind Kobayashi. The Sunday race was delayed by half an 34 hour after a torrential rainstorm hit the Sepang International Circuit just as the cars were due to leave the pits and drive to the grid. When the rain dissipated, the contest was started behind the Safety Car, and when racing got underway Davide Valsecchi held his lead from the hungry and determined moves of Pastor Maldonado. But he couldn’t hold on forever. Maldonado clearly had the pace advantage in the wet, and soon one of his moves stuck. As he pushed Valsecchi wide, Vitaly Petrov also flew past sending the Italian from first to third in a moment. Petrov pulled away to record a great win, as the focus of the race switched to the final points positions. The real battle was for the final point in sixth, and it raged between Kobayashi, who had dragged himself up from the midfield after a poor first lap, and Sergio Perez. Perez finally took that point, after an astonishing final corner had seen the drivers cross the line just hundredths of a second apart. The result will see both championships decided in Bahrain at the end of the month, as Kobayashi’s failure to score sees Valsecchi with a mathematical shot at the title, and Campos’double points score on Sunday leaves them with a chance to overtake Dams on the final weekend to add the Asia title to their 2008 GP2 Main Series crown.