Leimer wins opening race of the season
23 March 2013 – Fabio Leimer claimed victory in the season-opening Feature Race at Sepang on Saturday, combining a strong start with controlled tyre degradation to take the win from fourth on the grid. The Racing Engineering driver finished just over two seconds ahead of ART GP's James Calado, while pole-sitter Stefano Coletti fell back to third.
Coletti held on to his advantage from pole position as the lights went out, but Leimer launched through from fourth to put him under a significant amount of pressure from the opening lap. This forced the Rapax man to make an early pit-stop at the end of Lap 6, thus leading to a heavily worn set of tyres in the final stages of the race. Leimer and Calado took advantage and had little trouble in passing the Monegasque driver.
Fourth place went to Felipe Nasr at the finish, with Julián Leal reinforcing team-mate Leimer's pace by crossing the line in fifth. Jolyon Palmer was next up, despite an early incident with Marcus Ericsson which left the latter in the gravel, while fellow Briton Sam Bird claimed seventh after his qualifying dramas on Friday afternoon.
Stephane Richelmi wound up eighth for DAMS and will therefore start the Sprint Race from pole position, with Simon Trummer narrowly behind. Rookie Mitch Evans started well for Arden, but the New Zealander slipped back to tenth as the race wore on after picking up food poisoning. Britain's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was among the five retirees, having collided with MP Motorsport team-mate Daniël de Jong in the early laps.
Sunday's Sprint Race begins at 12.15pm local time (GMT +8)