Alesi wins Dubai Speedcar opener

Former grand prix winner Jean Alesi led from start to finish in the opening race of the penultimate round of the Speedcar Series at Dubai Autodrome

Alesi wins Dubai Speedcar opener

Alesi grabbed the lead after a ragged rolling start, over which poleman Christopher Zoechling complained that Alesi had jumped ahead of him and gained an unfair advantage. The race winner disagreed, blaming Zoechling for braking when he was on the throttle.

"I was on the power, he braked, so I braked, but I was straight back on the throttle," said Alesi. "It meant I had a bit more speed than him on the run to the first corner."

Alesi still had to brake late to dive around the outside of Zoechling at Turn 1, and they were followed by Vitantonio Liuzzi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Johnny Herbert and Gianni Morbidelli.

Frentzen passed Liuzzi for third at Turn 12, but had to drive hard to fend him off into the following 'bowl bend'. Liuzzi regained the position a lap later at Turn 10, only to run wide and let Frentzen and an opportunistic Herbert past. Liuzzi eventually retired with a puncture.

At the front, Alesi pulled out a three-second lead before Zoechling put in a mid-race spurt. By lap 17 Zoechling was just 0.6 seconds behind, and pushing Alesi hard.

Despite the 30-degree air temperature, which was more like 55-degrees inside the cars, the pace at the front was relentless. Alesi held off Zoechling to the finish, with a winning margin of 0.703 seconds.

"My car developed a little oversteer as the race progressed, but the Michelin tyres were very consistent," said Alesi. "It was very hot in the cockpit though. When I tried to get more cooling, there was nothing more to come."

Zoechling was happy with second, and said: "I ran out of time to catch Jean, unfortunately. I'm pleased with the result, but I've never been in such a hot racing car."

Frentzen finished a distant third, but suffered a gearbox problem in the closing stages. He lost second gear, but managed to coax his car home just ahead of series returnee David Terrien.

"I didn't have as good a pace as I thought I would," said Frentzen. "Although I had the gearbox problem, I could not attack as much as I had planned."

Terrien took fourth place at the expense of Herbert, who he passed with a smart manoeuvre at Turn 12 - just in front of the office building in which Terrien works (he runs the kart track at Dubai). Herbert finished fifth, ahead of Hasher Al Maktoum.

Morbidelli could only manage seventh after he was hit into a spin on the opening lap. Damien Pasini finished eighth, and will start Saturday's second race from reverse grid pole position.

Qatar star Marco Melandri didn't shine quite so brightly at Dubai. He ran eighth early on, but spun down to 13th position at Turn 14. He recovered to finish 10th.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Jean Alesi HPR 41:15.994 2. Christopher Zoechling Continental Circus + 0.703 3. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Team Lavaggi + 11.222 4. David Terrien Durango + 11.778 5. Johnny Herbert JMB + 16.478 6. Hasher Al Maktoum UP Team + 17.829 7. Gianni Morbidelli Palm Beach + 34.677 8. Damien Pasini JMB + 38.057 9. Thomas Biagi Palm Beach + 39.882 10. Marco Melandri Team Lavaggi + 50.412 11. Marchy Lee HPR + 53.845 12. Vitantonio Liuzzi UP Team + 1 lap 13. Hamad Al Fardan Durango + 2 laps Retirements: Driver Team Laps Eric Charles Continental Circus 19 
shares
comments
Zoechling takes shock Speedcar pole

Previous article

Zoechling takes shock Speedcar pole

Next article

Pavlovic completes 2009 F2 field

Pavlovic completes 2009 F2 field
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

General
Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

General
Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

General
Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

General
Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

General
Nov 24, 2020