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Abu Dhabi GP2: Leimer champion as Bird stalls and Rossi wins

Fabio Leimer wins the 2013 GP2 title

Fabio Leimer sealed the 2013 GP2 Series title in the Abu Dhabi feature race, as main rival Sam Bird stalled at the start and Alexander Rossi took victory.

Rossi's win, his first GP2 success with the Caterham team, came after opting for a medium/medium tyre strategy that thwarted long-time race leader Jolyon Palmer and his Carlin team.

They chose a medium/super-soft strategy, and Rossi's two-lap undercut was enough to propel him in front as Palmer rejoined from the pits.

Rossi won by 2.1 seconds despite a late safety car to retrieve Mitch Evans's stranded car, as Palmer ran the last nine laps on the more fragile tyre and could not take the fight to him at the finish.

Marcus Ericsson passed Leimer for third with three laps to go at Turn 11, but fourth was enough to crown Leimer as champion.

Chief rival Bird stalled at the start, and despite stopping under an early safety car to switch strategy to get the super-soft tyre out of the way, he was unable to rise to the ninth place he required to take the title fight into Sunday, finishing only 10th.

Dani Clos claimed fifth for MP Motorsport, ahead of James Calado, who made a late-race spurt on super-soft tyres despite a broken bargeboard that was starving his engine of power.

Felipe Nasr finished seventh, followed by Johnny Cecotto Jr, who will start Sunday's sprint race from pole.

The early safety car was required for a nasty clash between Jon Lancaster and Tom Dillmann, from which the latter was lucky to escape as Lancaster's front wing was wedged on his crash helmet.

Results - 29 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                Time/Gap
 1. Alexander Rossi      Caterham            1h00m16.414s
 2. Jolyon Palmer        Carlin                   +2.130s
 3. Marcus Ericsson      DAMS                     +3.075s
 4. Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering       +4.687s
 5. Dani Clos            MP                       +5.218s
 6. James Calado         ART                      +6.370s
 7. Felipe Nasr          Carlin                   +8.873s
 8. Johnny Cecotto Jr    Arden                   +12.142s
 9. Daniel Abt           ART                     +13.102s
10. Sam Bird             Russian Time            +13.568s
11. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Hilmer                  +14.852s
12. Sergio Canamasas     Caterham                +15.896s
13. Simon Trummer        Rapax                   +15.919s
14. Rio Haryanto         Addax                   +19.021s
15. Rene Binder          Lazarus                 +19.229s
16. Julian Leal          Racing Engineering      +21.039s
17. Gianmarco Raimondo   Trident                 +23.308s
18. Nathanael Berthon    Trident                   +1 lap*
19. Stefano Coletti      Rapax                     +1 lap*
20. Daniel de Jong       MP                        +1 lap*
21. Jake Rosenzweig      Addax                    +3 laps*

*Not running at finish
                                             
Retirements:                          
                                             
    Mitch Evans          Arden                    22 laps
    Vittorio Ghirelli    Lazarus                   9 laps
    Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                       1 lap
    Tom Dillmann         Russian Time              0 laps
    Jon Lancaster        Hilmer                    0 laps
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