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GP Week : Issue 70
THE big story doing the rounds in Abu Dhabi was that Timo Glock has signed a deal to race for the Renault F1 Team in 2010, alongside Robert Kubica. The German press reported the deal to have been signed over the weekend, although sources close to Renault suggested to GPWeek that while nothing had been nalised, Glock was top of the team's list of drivers for 2010 and that negotiations were well advanced. Glock himself is understood tobekeenonamoveto Renault as the team sets about reinventing itself in its post- Briatore days. The German, right, is now certain to leave Toyota next season, following big suggestions in Abu Dhabi that he was fully t to race but was being kept out of the car by what a team insider told GPWeek was "politics." THE third season of the GP2 Asia Series got underway in Abu Dhabi, and it was the experienced Davide Valsecchi who stole the show. The Italian was in a class of his own over the course of the weekend and came close to recording a perfect weekend in his rst outing with the iSport team. GP2 Asia arrived in Abu Dhabi a week earlier than F1 to conduct a two-day test session at the new track. While it was Luca Filippi in the Meritus who set the pace in the test, even the Italian had conceded before the racing began that he'd be lucky to get on terms with Valsecchi. His countryman's laptimes on full fuel in the test had been ominously fast. And thus it came as little surprise when Valsecchi romped to pole position, driving the 2007-spec GP2 car that Timo Glock had taken to the title. He was joined on the front row by rookie Sam Bird for ART, with another rookie, Fabio Liemer, taking third for Ocean. In the feature race, Valsecchi was in a class of his own, and despite losing the lead to Luca Filippi under one of many safety car periods, was simply too fast for his compatriot to deny. There was only ever going to be one winner of the race, and Valsecchi stomped to victory, recording fastest lap along the way. Filippi took second with James Jakes, who had sat out the whole of 2009, returning to racing with ne aplomb for Super Nova. While Liemer had stalled at the start, his team-mate Alex Rossi had shone in the race, taking fourth position on his debut ahead of young Czech Josef Kral, Christian Vietoris, Johnny Cecotto and Olivier Turvey in eighth and on pole for the reverse grid sprint. Sam Bird had been set for points until his ART gave up the ghost on the penultimate lap. The second race was won at the start when rookie Vietoris blasted into the lead at Turn 1. He was never headed and took his DAMS to a deserved victory. Behind him Valsecchi had been the man on the move. Up to sixth on lap one, he soon dispatched Filippi, and followed it up almost immediately by taking his team-mate Turvey. With ve laps left to go, Valsecchi was fourth, which became third when he put a lovely move on Rossi. And on the nal lap the Italian moved in for the kill on Kral, passed him and took second position. It had been an awe-inspiring weekend for Valsecchi, who nally showed the racecraft his talent and huge personality has been promising for so long. On this kind of form there isn't another driver in the eld who will be able to challenge him... but there's a long way to go. The next race isn't until the new year. With 15 rookies in the eld, the talent on display in the Asia Series is, for perhaps the rst time, something to get very excited about. It'll be fascinating to see how the championship plays out, and how many of these new hotshots are rewarded with a drive in the main series in 2010. GP2:Valsecchi unstoppable in Asia opener Glock set for Renault 10