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GP2 Series

Fabio Leimer Dominates Feature Race At GP2 Final

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Fabio Leimer - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Leimer crosses the line to take victory - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service

Fabio Leimer won the GP2 Final feature race in dominant fashion in Abu Dhabi, remaining unchallenged from start to finish. It was the Swiss driver's first feature race win, after his sprint race victories in Barcelona in both 2010 and 2011.

After switching to the Racing Engineering team, Leimer had been almost unstoppable in the post-season tests in Spain, and took pole position for the first of the non-championship races at Yas Marina on Friday.

He made a good getaway to retain the lead, as those around endured terrible starts. Fellow front row starter Dani Clos had a slow start, allowing seconds row starters Josef Kral and Luiz Razia to pull alongside him. With three into one not going at Turn 1, Clos and Kral made contact that put that latter into a spin.

Razia emerged in second place, ahead of Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Ceccon and Esteban Gutierrez. The Mexican's race would be wrecked a few corners later though, when he was hit in the rear by Stefano Coletti, damaging his rear wing. Although he actually managed to take fourth from Ceccon, he would soon have to pit for repairs, leaving a lap down.

Leimer proved unstoppable, eventually taking the checkered flag with a margin of 6.9 seconds over Razia.

Palmer remained in third place for the duration, scoring his maiden podium finish – a considerable improvement on his previous best result of ninth. He came home nearly half a minute behind Leimer.

He did have to withstand pressure in the closing stages from Marcus Ericsson, who had a fine race after starting a lowly 13th on the grid. The Swede got up to ninth on the opening lap, gaining further places when Gutierrez pitted and Max Chilton locked up and went straight on into the wall at Turn 1 at the start of the second lap out of eighth.

He also got past Coletti, before chasing down his iSport teammate Tom Dillmann, finally getting the better of the GP3 graduate for the first time in the weekend. Ericsson took fourth place by emerging from his mandatory pitstop ahead of Ceccon, who had been the first of the frontrunners to stop.

Ceccon's fifth place was the Auto GP champion's first points finish in GP2. Dillmann's impressive debut weekend continued as he took sixth as the best newcomer, keeping Antonio Felix da Costa at bay. The Portuguese driver came through from 15th on the grid, driving for Ocean Racing Technology.

GP3 runner-up James Calado took the final points in eighth for ART, passing Coletti after the pitstops and then keeping Nathanael Berthon behind him. The Racing Steps-backed driver will start the sprint race from pole position.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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