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Valsecchi takes Monaco victory

Davide Valsecchi wins in MonacoDavide Valsecchi took a lights to flag victory for AirAsia in the first GP2 race of the weekend on the streets of Monaco.

The Italian inherited the lead when polesitter Sam Bird stalled at the start. He then controlled the pace during the early laps as a pack of cars formed behind him, before upping his pace from lap six onwards.

Valsecchi had the race in control from then on as he built up a safe lead over second-placed Alvaro Parente. But that advantage was wiped out in the closing stages when the safety car was called out after Marcus Ericsson lost his rear wing.

The race leader was initially cautious after the restart, but he unleashed his true pace on the penultimate lap to set the fastest lap of the race and bring home a commanding victory - the first for the AirAsia team.

Behind Parente, who is standing in for Christian Vietoris at Racing Engineering again this weekend, Luca Filippi (Super Nova) made use of a late pitstop to climb from 11th place to third.

Romain Grosjean's progress was even more impressive though, as he employed the same tactic to rise from the back of the grid (26th) to finish fourth for DAMS.

Stefano Coletti (Trident) had to settle for fifth after being held up by the yet-to-pit Julian Leal (Rapax) as Filippi and Grosjean were putting in their fast laps, while Arden's Josef Kral and Carlin team-mates Oliver Turvey and Max Chilton completed the points.

Bird retained his championship lead, despite his stall from pole position, and another clash with iSport team-mate Ericsson later in the race. The pair came together as Bird tried to pass at the final corner, and they came to blows on the following lap at Mirabeau.

Ericsson then lost his rear wing exiting the tunnel, and Bird also retired with damage to the front of his car.

Other frontrunners to hit trouble included Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde. The ART driver ran into the back of the Addax car at the chicane, damaging both Dallaras.

Bianchi pitted for repairs but then stopped at the pit exit, while van der Garde was given the black and orange flag because his rear wing was loose after the clash.

Results - 41 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Davide Valsecchi     AirAsia             1h00m23.957s
 2.  Alvaro Parente       Racing Engineering      + 1.471s
 3.  Luca Filippi         Super Nova              + 2.199s
 4.  Romain Grosjean      DAMS                    + 4.219s
 5.  Stefano Coletti      Trident                + 14.023s
 6.  Josef Kral           Arden                  + 14.467s
 7.  Oliver Turvey        Carlin                 + 15.057s
 8.  Max Chilton          Carlin                 + 16.071s
 9.  Charles Pic          Addax                  + 19.524s
10.  Fabio Leimer         Rapax                  + 19.934s
11.  Kevin Mirocha        Ocean                  + 26.692s
12.  Kevin Ceccon         Coloni                 + 27.315s
13.  Esteban Gutierrez    ART                    + 33.427s
14.  Michael Herck        Coloni                 + 44.243s
15.  Fairuz Fauzy         Super Nova               + 1 lap


     Julian Leal          Rapax                    35 laps
     Jolyon Palmer        Arden                    33 laps
     Sam Bird             iSport                   30 laps
     Marcus Ericsson      iSport                   30 laps
     Giedo van der Garde  Addax                    22 laps
     Dani Clos            Racing Engineering       21 laps
     Rodolfo Gonzalez     Trident                  19 laps
     Luiz Razia           AirAsia                  19 laps
     Johnny Cecotto       Ocean                    17 laps
     Jules Bianchi        ART                      11 laps
     Pal Varhaug          DAMS                     10 laps
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