Valsecchi takes first GP2 victory
|By Charles Bradley||Sunday, September 14th 2008, 09:50 GMT|
After a year that has included two big shunts that put him in hospital, Davide Valsecchi scored an emotional maiden GP2 victory on home soil for Durango at Monza in the sprint race.
Starting from reverse grid pole, Valsecchi suffered huge wheelspin on the treacherously wet surface, which meant everybody started on wets.
From row two, Roldan Rodriguez made the best start, and rocketed through into the lead by the first corner, followed by Jerome d'Ambrosio.
D'Ambrosio went straight on at the first chicane, however, and Valsecchi passed him by the conclusion of the opening lap to run second. The Belgian would then lose further places to Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna and Mike Conway in the early going.
Senna spun at Roggia, overtaking two cars backwards but continuing in fourth. That lasted only until the same corner next lap, when Lucas di Grassi slammed into the back of Conway, and Senna spun again - this time in avoidance.
At the front, Rodriguez had pulled out a 2.6-second lead, but Valsecchi began to reel him in as the track dried out slightly. He took the lead at the first chicane on lap nine, and pulled away to a nine-second victory.
Grosjean also got around Rodriguez, but lost the place almost immediately. Rodriguez then held on to finish an excellent second for FMS - by far their best result of the year - 0.5 seconds ahead of Grosjean, who was 0.6 seconds ahead of a charging Pastor Maldonado at the finish.
Newly-crowned champion Giorgio Pantano finished fifth, having dropped to 17th on the opening lap after a terrible start and a cautious first corner. D'Ambrosio clung to the final point in sixth but had to hold off Sebastien Buemi and a recovering Senna to do so.
Pantano celebrated his title by stopping at the first chicane to throw his gloves into the crowd and then getting back in his car to perform a series of doughnuts at the Roggia. Combined with Valsecchi and Durango's win, it capped a great day for Italy in GP2.
Classified Pos Driver Team Time 1. Davide Valsecchi Durango 38:09.871 2. Roldan Rodriguez FMS + 9.004 3. Romain Grosjean ART + 9.537 4. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports + 10.190 5. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering + 11.428 6. Jerome D'Ambrosio DAMS + 16.731 7. Sebastien Buemi Arden + 17.675 8. Bruno Senna iSport + 18.540 9. Ho-Pin Tung Trident + 32.030 10. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports + 33.641 11. Lucas Di Grassi Campos + 42.236 12. Alvaro Parente Super Nova + 46.434 13. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS + 46.836 14. Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion + 51.080 15. Alberto Valerio Durango + 51.743 16. Diego Nunes DPR + 52.565 17. Michael Herck DPR + 55.792 18. Andy Soucek Super Nova + 56.456 Retirements: Driver Team Laps Sakon Yamamoto ART 14 Luca Filippi Arden 12 Marko Asmer FMS 8 Vitali Petrov Campos 6 Mike Conway Trident 3 Karun Chandhok iSport 0