Monaco brings first GP2 victory for Team Air Asia
Davide Valsecchi picked up Team Air Asia's first GP2 victory with a perfect feature race around the streets of Monaco on Friday morning.
The Hingham outfit, sisters to Formula One constructors Team Lotus, are competing in their first Main Series since being formed.
And they now have their first trophy to show for it, with Valsecchi taking full advantage from second on the grid after pole-sitter Sam Bird, of Norfolk rivals Isport's, stalled at the off.
Only the mandatory pit stops threatened to derail Valsecchi's race, but the Italian successfully held off the attentions of Alvaro Parente, with the help of the race's fastest lap on his penultimate trip, to bag a memorable victory.
Valsecchi said: 'What a race! I am so happy to get this result. Perhaps at the beginning Alvaro Parente was quickest but the team made a good strategy and a well timed pit stop so we were able to keep the lead.
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'It wasn't an easy race, but the car was perfect. We were very quick throughout and able to pull away and to set a fastest lap towards the end of the race is amazing.
'As a new team we have previously been a little unlucky but look at the results, we are just getting better and better. It is what we dream of.'
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Valsecchi is now third in the drivers' championship, four points behind leader Bird, with Team Air Asia in the same position battling for the team's title behind leaders Barwa and Isport in second.
Griston's Super Nova racing also had a decent time of it, with Luca Filippi completing the podium in third having started from 11th on the grid.
But it was much tougher for Carleton Rode's Isport, who saw Bird crash into the back of team-mate Marcus Ericsson with 10 of the 41 laps remaining to effectively end both their races.
Fairuz Fauzy's race in his Super Nova finished on the final lap with an unspecified problem.
Crashing against a Monte Carlo wall put Attleborough racer Rodolfo Gonzalez out midway through the race, and Valsecchi's Hingham team-mate Luiz Razia also failed to finish due to an engine problem.
Group Lotus-backed ART saw Jules Bianchi complete only 10 laps before retiring, with team-mate Esteban Gutierrez 12th at the chequered flag.