Fast and consistent since the beginning of the Malaysian round, Diego Nunes took an impressive first victory for Piquet GP this afternoon in the feature race at the Sepang International Circuit, while Roldan Rodriguez, his teammate, finished fourth. With fifteen points scored today, the Brazilian squad jumps from fifth to third in the championship standings.
Poleman Jérôme d’Ambrosio at Dams unfortunately returned to the pits after his reconnaissance lap following a driveshaft failure due to a manufacturing glitch. Nunes hence found himself effectively on pole alongside Super Nova’s James Jakes. At the start however, both men were slow to get away while Jakes’ teammate, Javier Villa, stalled. Starting from sixth, Vitaly Petrov found his way up to second place with Pastor Maldonado at ART in tow. Championship leader Kamui Kobayashi kept his position ahead of Ocean’s Yelmer Buurman. Jakes dropped to sixth.
Diego Nunes took a comfortable lead. Behind him, Pastor Maldonado ran wide, allowing Kobayashi, Buurman and Jakes to pass him. The Brit from Super Nova then overtook Buurman for fourth place. Vitaly Petrov, slightly slower than the rest of the cars behind him, tried to resist as much as possible to the charges of an impatient Kobayashi. Frustrated, the Dams driver decided to pit early on Lap 7. On track, Petrov made a small mistake letting Jakes back in second place. Two laps later, Buurman passed the Russian who pitted soon after that.
Jakes decided to obverse his mandatory pitstop on Lap 12 and came out of the pits right behind Kobayashi. The race leader came in one lap later with enough time to get back on track ahead of his closest rivals. Meanwhile, the lead was handed to iSport’s Hamad Al Fardan who waited until Lap 18 to pit. Nunes got back into the lead and cruised to his first GP2 victory.
In second place, Kamui Kobayashi held on his position although under constant pressure from James Jakes, but the Super Nova never found a way passed the Japanese. A late pitstop allowed Roldan Rodriguez on the second Piquet car to grab fourth place, ahead of Buurman. The Dutch scored Ocean Racing Technology’s first GP2 points in the young history of this new team. In sixth, Petrov eventually crossed the finish line before Maldonado who put huge pressure on the Russian towards the end of the race. Durango’s Davide Valsecchi managed to claim one point and tomorrow’s reversed pole which keeps his title hopes alive although now seventeen points behind Kamui Kobayashi in the drivers’ championship.
Malaysia – Race 1
Driver / Team 1. Diego Nunes Piquet GP 2. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 3. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 4. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet GP 5. Yelmer Buurman Ocean Racing Technology 6. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team 7 Pastor Maldonado ART Grand Prix 8. Davide Valsecchi Durango 9. Hamad Al Fardan GFH Team iSport 10. Rodolfo Gonzalez Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 11. Alvaro Parente My Qi-Meritus.Mahara 12. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix 13. Michael Herck DPR 14. Giedo van der Garde GFH Team iSport 15. Fabrizio Crestani Ocean Racing Technology 16. Giacomo Ricci DPR 17. Ricardo Teixeira Trident Racing 18. Michael Dalle Stelle Durango 19. Javier Villa Super Nova Racing 20. Kevin Nai Chia Chen Fisichella Motor Sport Int.
Fastest lap time: Javier Villa (Super Nova Racing): 1:48.208 on lap 21