Morbidelli wins Speedcar night race

Gianni Morbidelli won the first-ever Speedcar Series night race at Losail in Qatar on Friday night, heading home fellow Italian ex-Formula One racer Vitantonio Liuzzi

Morbidelli wins Speedcar night race

The rolling start was slightly chaotic, with polesitter Heinz-Harald Frentzen rushing off into the lead as fellow front-row man Jacques Villeneuve didn't make the best of starts, allowing Jean Alesi to grab second on the run to Turn 1.

Frentzen then ran wide into the opening corner, letting Alesi snatch the lead. Morbidelli ran third, as fourth-placed qualifier Marco Melandri suffered a spin in the opening corners, the MotoGP star dropping to the tail of the field.

Morbidelli grabbed second, just before Frentzen pulled off the circuit with a mechanical failure, and then jumped into the lead when Alesi ran wide.

Further back, Liuzzi - who was earlier delayed when a backmarker punted Villeneuve into a spin in front of him - took third from Johnny Herbert, and set off in pursuit of Alesi.

He caught him at half distance, which sparked a pass-and-repass battle, which Liuzzi decided in his favour two laps later.

With 12 minutes of the race remaining, Morbidelli was 9.2 seconds in the lead, but he slashed that down to 2.8 seconds by the finish. Herbert took third from Alesi after a great battle in the closing laps, Alesi eventually losing the place when he slid wide at Turn 1.

Villeneuve never recovered from his bad start and finished fifth, ahead of Hasher Al Maktoum, Thomas Biagi and Melandri, who suffered another spin but just beat Christopher Zoechling to the finish line.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Gianni Morbidelli Palm Beach 41:58.910 2. Vitantonio Liuzzi UP Team + 2.861 3. Johnny Herbert JMB Racing + 10.144 4. Jean Alesi HPR + 12.598 5. Jacques Villeneuve Durango + 27.029 6. Hasher Al Maktoum UP Team + 43.593 7. Thomas Biagi Palm Beach + 43.806 8. Marco Melandri Team Lavaggi + 51.354 9. Christopher Zoechling Durango + 53.757 10. Nasser Al-Attiyah Team Barwa +1:28.523 11. Ahmad Al Kuwari QMMF Team + 1 lap 12. Fahad Al Thani QMMF Team + 4 laps Retirements: Driver Team Laps Marchy Lee HPR 9 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Team Lavaggi 6 Damien Pasini JMB Racing 2 
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