Trident‘s Luca Ghiotto claimed his maiden GP2 Series victory at the Sepang International Circuit from second on the grid after seeing off a late challenge from fellow Italian Raffaele Marciello, with Pierre Gasly coming home in third.
It was New Zealander Mitch Evans starting on pole position – with the Kiwi having reported a brake issue on the formation lap – but he had to go defensive right from the start as a fast starting Ghiotto sort to find a way into the lead. Evans eventually yielded the place to the Italian at Turn 2.
In third, Marciello stayed clear of a heated battle between Racing Engineering team-mates Jordan King and Norman Nato, which saw the Frenchman spin and have to retire from the race.
The safety car was deployed to remove the stranded Racing Engineering – at the re-start Ghiotto remained in control whilst Marciello was all over the back of Evans. The Kiwi tried his hardest to hold the Italian behind but was unable to hold him off. Further down the pack King was struggling for pace before being passed by both Oliver Rowland and Antonio Giovinazzi down the main straight.
Giovinazzi, was keen to push on and immediately attacked Rowland running alongside the Brit but he ran a bit too wide off the track; he was able to re-join but dropped behind Rowland, King and Pierre Gasly who had recovered well from P11 on the grid. The Prema Racing team-mates of Giovinazzi and Gasly soon made quick work of King and Rowland and set about hunting down Gustav Malja and Evans.
Malja himself was busying attempting to find a way to get through on a slower Evans – with the Swedish driver passing the Pertamina Campos Racing driver on lap 16, with the Prema pair doing so soon after, relegating the pole sitter to P6.
Under pressure, Malja locked up and ran wide which left room for the two Prema’s to get through on him. The battle between the two title contenders raged on but Gasly defended well to keep the Italian behind.
Marciello picked up his pace in the closing laps to reduce the gap to Ghiotto to under a second, but was unable to make an impress on his fellow countryman meaning the Trident driver took his first victory to date in the series. Gasly in third, was happy to reduce the deficit in the championship to seven points, with Giovinazzi, Malja, Evans, Nobuharu Matsushita and Rowland completing the points paying positions.
Heading into the final round of the 2016 GP2 Series, Giovinazzi leads the championship on 197 by seven points over Gasly whilst Marciello sits in third with 158. The drivers return to track action for the final round at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 25-26-27.
Sepang International Circuit Race 2 Results
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