Gutierrez wins chaotic GP2 race

Gutierrez wins chaotic GP2 race
By AutoSport

24/06/2012 at 01:45Updated 24/06/2012 at 01:49

Esteban Gutierrez won Saturday's feature race at the Valencia street circuit, the 11th round of the GP2 Series, after an incident-packed race that included three safety cars.

Gutierrez - who also scored victory here last year - effectively won the race by pushing Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering) wide at the final corner during a restart, which allowed Arden's Luiz Razia past them both for a couple of corners, but Gutierrez quickly outbraked him to jump ahead.

Gutierrez eventually won the race by 1.6 seconds, despite starting two places further back than he had qualified due to a grid penalty for blocking in qualifying.

The moral victor of the race was Gutierrez's Lotus team-mate James Calado, who pulled out a 15s lead in a flawless first half of the race. But his failure to pit before the first safety car was called out on track - to collect debris that was scattered from Tom Dillmann's rear wing - totally unravelled all his hard work.

When Calado did pit, just as the third safety car was scrambled - to retrieve Giancarlo Serenelli's stricken machine - he dropped to 10th on the road, and was ultimately classified ninth after a penalty was applied to Johnny Cecotto Jr (Addax) for an unsafe release from his pitstop.

Marcus Ericsson finished second for iSport after a strong drive from ninth on the grid. He jumped ahead of Razia at the final turn with six laps remaining to grab the runner-up spot.

Razia finished third, from 11th on the grid, with Leimer dropping to fourth after his clash with Gutierrez lost him a lot of time. Rio Haryanto finished fifth for Carlin, ahead of Nathanael Berthon (Racing Engineering) and Max Chilton (Carlin).

The second safety car was required for Fabrizio Crestani (Lazarus) being punted into a somersault by iSport's Jolyon Palmer at Turn 10, as a slowing front-row starter Felipe Nasr (DAMS) caused a concertina effect behind him. Palmer had earlier been pushed into a spin at the third corner by Leimer.

Points leader Davide Valsecchi (DAMS) suffered a terrible start, and damaged his front wing, but held off Calado in the closing stages to finish eighth, to earn him reversed-grid pole for Sunday's sprint race.