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Ricci ends DPR's victory drought

Giacomo Ricci took DPR's first GP2 victory since the 2005 season as he led from start to finish in the Asia series finale at Sakhir

After several years at the back of the grid, DPR has shown increasingly strong form during this winter's Asia campaign, with Ricci and team-mate Michael Herck leading for much of the second Abu Dhabi sprint race last month until being denied victory by eventual champion Davide Valsecchi's late charge.

Ricci made up for that disappointment in Bahrain this morning - bursting through from fourth on the grid at the start and then pulling away from the field to take a comfortable victory with a 5.3-second cushion.

In a relatively static race, ART's Sam Bird and Coloni's Alvaro Parente settled into second and third by the first corner and remained there for the rest of the race, giving Bird his first GP2 podium, and Parente his best result since returning to the series.

All of the action in the race happened behind the top three, with Valsecchi (iSport), Meritus pair Alexander Rossi and Luca Filippi and Arden duo Charles Pic and Javier Villa having a spectacular battle in the opening laps.

Villa had been handed first on the grid when poleman Edoardo Piscopo's DAMS car shed its right rear wheel on the way to the grid, but the Spaniard was unable to capitalise on his good fortune as a poor start dropped him straight back to eighth.

Valsecchi emerged in fourth despite minor contact with Pic, and then held on to the place despite ferocious pressure from the hard-charging Rossi, whose late efforts to take the place saw him skitter over the run-off at the first complex but remain fifth. Villa took sixth but team-mate Pic - who at one point passed both Villa and Filippi in a single dive into Turn 1 - dropped back when he pitted with a suspected tyre problem.

Filippi struggled for pace as the race progressed, particularly under braking, and eventually lost seventh to Ocean's Yelmer Buurman at the final corner.

Oliver Turvey had another frustrating race in the second iSport car, losing several places on the first lap when he bounced over the kerbs trying to pass Buurman. Jules Bianchi's tough start to his GP2 career with ART also continued - the Formula 3 Euro Series champion had to pit for repairs at the end of the opening lap.

Pos  Driver                Team           Time/Gap
 1.  Giacomo Ricci         DPR          43m47.744s
 2.  Sam Bird              ART            + 5.369s
 3.  Alvaro Parente        Coloni         + 9.585s
 4.  Davide Valsecchi      iSport        + 15.695s
 5.  Alexander Rossi       Meritus       + 16.559s
 6.  Javier Villa          Arden         + 23.280s
 7.  Yelmer Buurman        Ocean         + 25.403s
 8.  Luca Filippi          Meritus       + 25.949s
 9.  Vladimir Arabadzhiev  Rapax         + 29.077s
10.  Josef Kral            Super Nova    + 30.780s
11.  Oliver Turvey         iSport        + 32.196s
12.  Dani Clos             Trident       + 35.035s
13.  Luiz Razia            Rapax         + 38.628s
14.  Christian Vietoris    DAMS          + 45.567s
15.  Max Chilton           Addax         + 47.373s
16.  Will Bratt            Coloni        + 51.821s
17.  Jake Rosenzweig       Super Nova    + 53.057s
18.  Plamen Kralev         Trident     + 1m12.250s
19.  Charles Pic           Arden       + 1m44.114s

Retirements:

     Jules Bianchi         ART         17 laps
     Rodolfo Gonzalez      Addax       16 laps
     Michael Herck         DPR         16 laps
     Edoardo Piscopo       DAMS        0 laps
     Fabio Leimer          Ocean       0 laps

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