Leimer wins opening GP2 Final race
12 November 2011 – Fabio Leimer translated pole position into victory for the first GP2 Final race in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Leading from the start of the Feature Race, the Swiss took the chequered flag as Luiz Razia of Brazil closed in, with Britain’s Jolyon Palmer picking up a maiden GP2 podium finish in third.
An ideal getaway for Leimer allowed the Racing Engineering driver to head the field comfortably, with second-placed starter Dani Clos somewhat bogging down; the consequent crushing effect saw Clos sandwiched between Razia and Josef Kral, with the Spaniard retiring as the Czech spun out of contention. The drama saw Razia and Palmer, eventual rostrum finishers, shoot through into second and third places.
A superb start by Esteban Gutiérrez saw him shoot from eighth on the grid to fourth after Turn 1, although Stefano Coletti contacted with his rear wing and forced an unscheduled pit-stop - dropping the Mexican down the order. It was also in the pits that Leimer could have lost the lead, although Razia was restrained by the former’s rapid on-track pace.
Like Gutiérrez, Marcus Ericsson was lighting quick off the grid and pressed Palmer for third, taking the chequered flag just over a second behind the son of former Grand Prix driver Jonathan, while Kevin Ceccon and Tom Dillmann rounded out the top six.
Finishing eighth was Englishman James Calado, who will therefore start from pole position for Sunday’s race, joined on Row 1 by António Félix da Costa of Portugal.
Sunday’s GP2 Sprint Race starts at 1:30pm local time (GMT +4)