Vitantonio Liuzzi wins but Melandri stars

Vitantonio Liuzzi wins but Melandri stars

14.02.2009: MotoGP star Marco Melandri came within four laps of a shock Speedcar Series victory under the lights at Losail in Qatar on Saturday night, but a mechanical failure took him out, handing the victory to Vitantonio Liuzzi, who headed an Italian 1-2-3.

MotoGP star Marco Melandri came within four laps of a shock Speedcar Series victory under the lights at Losail in Qatar on Saturday night, but a mechanical failure took him out, handing the victory to Vitantonio Liuzzi, who headed an Italian 1-2-3.

Melandri, who started only his second-ever car race from pole position, rocketed away at the start and built up a 7.5sec lead by lap nine, which was when Liuzzi passed Thomas Biagi for second place.

Liuzzi got the hammer down, and ate into Melandri's lead initially, but the Italian bike racing star had stabilised the gap, and was on course for a major shock victory, until his car suddenly slowed on lap 15.

"I was concentrating on not making any mistakes, but my gear changes were becoming more difficult, which didn't make it easy," said Melandri. "Then, all of a sudden, there were no more gears and I was out."

That gifted the lead to Liuzzi, who had been guiding Melandri on his learning curve all weekend, and he stroked home ahead of yesterday's winner Gianni Morbidelli.

"It was very lucky for me that Marco went out, and unlucky for him," said Liuzzi. "I had a lot more understeer than in the first race, and Marco was driving really well."

Morbidelli said: "I lost too much time in the early laps, so Vitantonio was too far away for me to catch him. Second position is great for my championship lead. That is the main thing for me."

Thomas Biagi finished third, although Heinz-Harald Frentzen looked poised to grab the place from him in the closing laps, only to make contact and then get rammed into a spin by Johnny Herbert.

Christopher Zoechling finished fourth, ahead of Frentzen and Herbert.

Jean Alesi looked strong in the early stages, but was forced to retire from fourth place with a power steering failure. He had been locked in an entertaining battle with Liuzzi early on, in which they passed and repassed each other three times.

The preliminary results are as follows:


Race 2 Preliminary Classification

 1   V. Liuzzi      UP Team              19     40:03.661
 2   G. Morbidelli  Palm Beach           19         4.554
 3   T. Biagi       Palm Beach           19        14.021
 4   C. Zoechling   Durango              19        16.459
 5   H. Frentzen    Team Lavaggi         19        18.372
 6   J. Herbert     JMB                  19        23.400
 7   M. Lee         HPR                  19        39.058
 8   D. Pasini      JMB                  19        47.788
 9   N. Al Attiyah  Team Barwa           19        63.061
10   F. Al Thani    QMMF Team            18         1 LAP
11   M. Melandri    Team Lavaggi         14           DNF

Not Classified

     J. Alesi       HPR                   4           DNF
     A. Al Kuwari   QMMF Team             2           DNF
     H. Al Maktoum  UP Team               1           DNF
     J. Villeneuve  Durango               0           DNF
 
Fastest Lap     V. Liuzzi      UP Team                      2:05.261 on lap 16



Drivers' Championship Standings in Round 3, Race 6

 1   Gianni Morbidelli       6    -    5    8   10    8    37
 2   Johnny Herbert          5    -    6   10    6    3    30
 3   Vitantonio Liuzzi      10    -    -    1    8   10    29
 4   Heinz Harald Frentzen   8    -    8    5    -    4    25
 5   Jean Alesi              -    -   10    3    5    -    18
 6   Thomas Biagi            -    -    3    6    2    6    17
 7   Hasher Al Maktoum       4    -    4    2    3    -    13
 8   Damien Pasini           1    -    2    4    -    1     8
 9   Jacques Villeneuve      3    -    -    -    4    -     7
10   Christopher Zoechling   -    -    -    -    -    5     5
11   Marchy Lee              2    -    -    -    -    2     4
12   Giovanni Lavaggi        -    -    1    -    -    -     1
13   Marco Melandri          -    -    -    -    1    -     1

Teams' Championship Standings in Round 3, Race 6

Pos  Team                   R1   R2   R3   R4   R5   R6   TOTAL
 1   Palm Beach              6    -    8   14   12   14    54
 2   UP Team                14    -    4    3   11   10    42
 3   JMB Racing              6    -    8   14    6    4    38
 4   HPR                     2    -   10    3    5    2    22
 5   Team Lavaggi            -    -    8    5    1    4    18
 6   Durango                 3    -    -    -    4    5    12
 7   Phoenix Racing          8    -    -    -    -    -     8
 8   Team Siram              -    -    1    -    -    -     1

R1 = Dubai, UAE - December 5, 2008
R2 = Dubai, UAE - December 6, 2008 (cancelled due to rain)
R3 = Sakhir, Bahrain - January 23, 2009
R4 = Sakhir, Bahrain - January 24, 2009
R5 = Doha, Qatar - February 13, 2009
R6 = Doha, Qatar - February 14, 2009 


- Speedcar Series -

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14.02.2009 / MaP

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