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Davide Valsecchi has placed himself in a commanding position for the GP2 title after winning Monza’s Sprint Race on Sunday morning. The DAMS driver led home Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer as title rival Luiz Razia ended a dismal weekend in 16th.
The Italian's win was set up at the start when he split front row starters Stefano Coletti and Palmer with a storming start as the lights went out. Leimer followed Valsecchi after running inside Coletti at turn one and easing into P2, while behind them Esteban Gutiérrez came together with Johnny Cecotto, and Marcus Ericsson missed his braking all together and had to run straight at the chicane.
The Swede eventually dropped back to just behind his team-mate, who made short work of Coletti to put himself into a podium position the next time through the first turn. Behind them though, Fabio Onidi came in way too hot and collected Nigel Melker, with both drivers out on the spot, and Esteban Gutiérrez ran too deep trying to pass Giedo van der Garde into the Parabolica and found the wall.
Leimer was throwing everything he had at Valsecchi, who was equally determined to repel the attacks and get his championship bid back on track, and the pair pulled away from Palmer, who had his mirrors full of the Coletti/Ericsson battle behind him. The Swede eventually eased past, making it a 3 way fight for the final podium position.
And when the flag finally dropped it was Valsecchi who held on by just 0.4 seconds from Leimer, with the pair saluting each other after crossing the line. Palmer held on for third after Coletti and Ericsson ran side by side through Ascari on the final lap: Coletti hung on for fourth while Ericsson ran wide and lost places to Johnny Cecotto and Max Chilton in the run to the flag, and Julian Leal repelled a long challenge from Sergio Canamasas for the final point.
Valsecchi's win eases the Italian ahead in the Drivers’ Championship; he now leads on 229 points to Razia's 204, while Calado and Gutiérrez remain unchanged on 160 and 152 points respectively. DAMS take the lead in the Teams’ Championship with 314 points to 312 for Lotus, with Arden third on 208 points.
For the first time, the GP2 season finale will take place under lights in Singapore in two weeks’ time, with Valsecchi and Razia both aiming for the title
|2.||F. Leimer||Racing Engin.||+0.444|
|5.||J. Cecotto Jr.||Addax||+10.953|
|10.||G. van der Garde||Caterham||+14.540|
|10 May||Ericsson takes pole for Feature Race|
|14 Dec '12||Ericsson and Richelmi sign for DAMS|
|24 Sep '12||GP2 Champion Valsecchi now targets F1 seat|
|22 Sep '12||Chilton wins as Valsecchi becomes GP2 Champion|
|GP2: Italy 2012|
|9 Sep '12||Latest GP2 photos: Sunday at Monza|
|9 Sep '12||Valsecchi boosts title hopes with Italian win|
|8 Sep '12||Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Monza|
|8 Sep '12||Filippi wins comeback race as Razia retires|
|27 Apr||Formula 1 testing resumes at Duxford|
|23 Apr||Valsecchi set for Lotus E21 aero tests|
|2 Mar||Valsecchi: Instant pace proves E21 potential|
|2 Mar||Räikkönen misses third day due to illness|
|16 May||Three-day Abu Dhabi test for GP2 and GP3|
|13 May||Haryanto gets grid penalty for Monaco|
|12 May||Latest GP2 photos: Sunday in Barcelona|
|12 May||Coletti takes controlled Sprint Race win|
|More Davide Valsecchi photos|