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James Calado takes first GP2 points-paying win for Lotus in Sepang sprint race

James Calado wins at SepangJames Calado scored his maiden points-paying GP2 victory at Sepang on Sunday to add to the non-championship win he claimed at Yas Marina last year.

The British driver started from pole position on the reversed grid and went on to dominate from once again. He was chased home by his Lotus team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

The closest Gutierrez got to him (besides almost hitting him on the warm-up lap at the final corner while practicing a start) was under braking for Turn 1, but Calado held both his nerve and the lead. Behind the Lotus cars, Felipe Nasr kept third for DAMS, ahead of Coloni's Stefano Coletti and Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer.

The opening lap was a barnstormer, as Coletti nipped past Nasr at Turn 4, getting ahead for only a corner before running wide and dropping to sixth. Caterham's Giedo van deer Garde passed Leimer to snatch fourth while feature race winner Luiz Razia overtook Davide Valsecchi, the Arden driver overhauling the DAMS man for seventh.

Valsecchi then came under attack from Carlin's Max Chilton and Lazarus driver Fabrizio Crestani, the latter hitting his Italian compatriot at Turn 1 on the second lap and receiving a drive-through penalty for his error.

The race settled down with Calado managing the gap expertly ahead of Gutierrez, the two black and gold machines circulating up front with Andretti/Peterson-like synchronicity.

The next real action unfolded on lap 14, when Valsecchi attacked Razia in the battle for seventh. Saturday's top two entered Turn 1 side-by-side, and although Valsecchi lunged past at Turn 4, he ran wide, allowing Razia and Chilton through.

Marcus Ericsson also tried to nip past in his iSport car, but made contact with Valsecchi's left-rear wheel at the apex of the ultra-fast Turn 5, flipping the Italian onto his rollhoop. Valsecchi's car slid upside-down into the gravel, coming to rest back on his wheels. The Italian was dazed but unhurt.

As Calado rattled off the laps to score a perfectly-judged victory by two seconds over Gutierrez and take the first points-paying win for ART since its rebranding as Lotus, the battle of the final laps concerned Coletti, who slipped back as his car lost pace. First Razia, then Chilton passed him, and he ultimately gave up the ghost and retired in the pits.

The final pass for a major position came on the penultimate lap, as Razia pulled a sublime move on Leimer for fifth at the final turn, and closed to within 0.6s of van der Garde, who limped home some 7.4s behind third-placed Nasr.

Razia continues to lead the points, opening up a healthy seven-point margin over non-finisher Valsecchi. Calado moves up to third ahead of Gutierrez and Valsecchi.

Results - 22 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team                   Time/Gap
 1.  James Calado         Lotus                41m08.048s
 2.  Esteban Gutierrez    Lotus                  + 2.004s
 3.  Felipe Nasr          DAMS                   + 3.440s
 4.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham              + 10.760s
 5.  Luiz Razia           Arden                 + 11.430s
 6.  Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering    + 14.689s
 7.  Max Chilton          Carlin                + 15.685s
 8.  Nathanael Berthon    Racing Engineering    + 16.578s
 9.  Josef Kral           Addax                 + 18.175s
10.  Rio Haryanto         Carlin                + 24.033s
11.  Tom Dillmann         Rapax                 + 24.086s
12.  Jolyon Palmer        iSport                + 25.547s
13.  Fabio Onidi          Coloni                + 32.206s
14.  Nigel Melker         Ocean                 + 34.500s
15.  Julian Leal          Trident               + 34.629s
16.  Simon Trummer        Arden                 + 35.226s
17.  Jon Lancaster        Ocean                 + 40.340s
18.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Caterham              + 44.700s
19.  Stephane Richelmi    Trident               + 47.133s
20.  Giancarlo Serenelli  Lazarus             + 1m10.466s
21.  Fabrizio Crestani    Lazarus             + 1m21.035s
22.  Johnny Cecotto Jr    Addax                   + 1 lap
23.  Stefano Coletti      Coloni                 + 2 laps
24.  Ricardo Teixeira     Rapax                  + 3 laps

Did not finish:
     Marcus Ericsson      iSport                  13 laps
     Davide Valsecchi     DAMS                    13 laps
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