Alesi scores Dubai Speedcar double

Former grand prix winner Jean Alesi charged his way through the pack to win Saturday's Speedcar Series race at Dubai Autodrome, to add to his victory from Friday

Alesi scores Dubai Speedcar double

Alesi, who started seventh on the reversed grid, pulled off some trademark stunning passing manoeuvres as he carved through the field.

Pole-sitter Damien Pasini led from the rolling start, but blatantly jumped the gun as he pulled out a big lead on his pursuers. Not only did he then quickly slip backwards through the pack on the opening lap, he received a drivethrough penalty for his troubles.

Qatar race-winner Gianni Morbidelli led at the end of the opening lap, ahead of Johnny Herbert, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, David Terrien and Christopher Zoechling.

Alesi was sixth at this point, but wouldn't stay there for long. The Frenchman passed Zoechling for fifth on lap three, after which Zoechling promptly spun and was hit by Vitantonio Liuzzi, putting Liuzzi out with a broken left-front wheel.

Alesi rattled off a sequence of fastest laps before passing Terrien for fourth on lap seven. Next in his sights was Frentzen, who he outbraked in superb style into Turn 1 on lap nine.

Herbert was Alesi's next target, and was passed with a brave lunge entering the 'bowl bend'. By this point, Alesi's car was leaking oil, which was making his efforts all the more amazing - and spectacular as smoke was pluming from the rear of his car in the corners.

Now the only man between Alesi and a famous double victory was Morbidelli, who was over two seconds up the road. Despite his smoky car, Alesi chased him down and took the lead with another great pass at Turn 12 with eight laps remaining.

The only remaining question was whether the leader's car would blow-up before the finish, but fortunately he was able to drive it home for his second win of the weekend.

"That was a great race," said Alesi. "Honestly, I have to say Gianni and Johnny and everyone were extremely fair, and respected the fact I had a quicker car than they did. I think it was a superb show."

When asked about the smoke, Alesi replied: "I have no idea what it was! I thought, 'okay, I will carry on until the car stops or I see the chequered flag.'"

Second-placed Morbidelli shed some light on the situation, and said: "Jean's car was leaking a lot of oil, and I lost two to three seconds after he passed me. But second place for my championship lead is just great."

Herbert hounded Morbidelli to the finish, but admitted: "I was never close enough to pass him. It was to-and-fro between us, and it's a good result for my chances of retaining my Speedcar title. It's going to be one hell of a title fight."

Frentzen finished fourth, despite being punted into a spin by Terrien at Turn 10. Behind Terrien, Thomas Biagi, Marchy Lee and MotoGP star Marco Melandri, who was delayed by a huge first-corner slide, rounded out the point scorers.

 Pos Driver Team Time 1. Jean Alesi HPR 41:26.780 2. Gianni Morbidelli Palm Beach + 3.839 3. Johnny Herbert JMB Racing + 5.608 4. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Team Lavaggi + 7.187 5. David Terrien Durango + 12.883 6. Thomas Biagi Palm Beach + 18.160 7. Marchy Lee HPR + 25.441 8. Marco Melandri Team Lavaggi + 35.281 9. Damien Pasini JMB Racing + 41.962 10. Christopher Zoechling Continental Circus +1:41.270 11. Ramez Azzam UP Team + 1 lap 12. Eric Charles Continental Circus + 1 lap Retirements: Driver Team Laps Hamad Al Fardan Durango 7 Vitantonio Liuzzi UP Team 4 

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