Stefano Coletti - Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Media Service
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Coletti Wins Istanbul Sprint Race For Trident

Stefano Coletti scored his maiden win in the main GP2 Series by winning an action-packed sprint race at Istanbul Park in Turkey.

The victory also gave the Trident Racing team its first win since 2008, where Mike Conway conquered the streets of Monaco.

The Monegasque driver made a good start to move up from fourth to second past Luiz Razia and Charles Pic and behind polesitter Dani Clos. Giedo van der Garde moved up to third by the end of the first lap, while title favourites Romain Grosjean and Jules Bianchi clashed at the final corner on the opening tour. The contact put Bianchi into a spin, dropping him to the back, while Grosjean had to pit for a new front wing.

Up front Coletti passed Clos for the lead at the beginning of the sixth lap, and the Spanish Racing Engineering driver began to drop back, being passed by the Addax cars of van der Garde and Charles Pic, before Sam Bird then got past. Clos went onto pit for fresh tyres a few laps later.

Leal (foreground) climbs from his car while Rigon attempts to do the same before waiting for assistance

With four laps remaining Julian Leal tagged Davide Rigon out of the final turn, putting both in the wall and bringing out the safety car. Rigon was able to get himself out of the car, but then waited for medical assistance. He was taken to the medical centre, where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures of the tibia and fibula. Leal was handed a ten place grid penalty for causing the collision.

The race restarted with just one lap to go, and Coletti escaped from van der Garde to win the race. Further back, Marcus Ericsson attacked iSport teammate Bird at the final turn as the race went green, breaking his front wing and dropping out of the points. Bird meanwhile went on to pass Pic for third at Turn 10 to complete the podium. Fairuz Fauzy finished fifth, with Josef Kral sixth.

Bird's double podium put him level on points with Grosjean at the head of the standings, the Frenchman having taken a bonus point for fastest lap as he recovered from his first lap tangle with Bianchi to finish 10th. Coletti's win puts him three points behind in third.

The second round of the season takes place at Barcelona in two weeks time.

Sprint race results after 23 laps:

Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 41:40.571
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team +2.184
3. Sam Bird iSport International +2.756
4. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team +3.243
5. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing +3.502
6. Josef Kral Arden International +5.038
7. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART +5.373
8. Marcus Ericsson iSport International +5.602
9. Jolyon Palmer Arden International +7.143
10. Romain Grosjean DAMS +7.501
11. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART +7.892
12. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni +9.261
13. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology +10.697
14. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing +11.862
15. Dani Clos Racing Engineering +12.140
16. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia +12.237
17. Max Chilton Carlin +12.359
18. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia +12.826
19. Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology +12.950
20. Fabio Leimer Rapax +13.708
21. Pal Varhaug DAMS +14.195
22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident +15.582
Ret. Davide Rigon Scuderia Coloni 18 laps
Ret. Julian Leal Rapax 18 laps
Ret. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 3 laps