x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Liuzzi wins opener at the Dubai Autodrome

Vitantonio Liuzzi put a clutch of former Formula One stars in the shade as he started his Speedcar Series career on a winning note.

Vitantonio Liuzzi put a clutch of former Formula One stars in the shade as he started his Speedcar Series career on a winning note. The Italian, 27, who has driven for Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1 and tests for Force India, led from start to finish, taking the flag in 40 minutes 55.976 seconds at the Dubai Autodrome. Heinz-Harald Frentzen of Phoenix Racing was just 0.839 seconds behind Luizzi's UP Team car No20, while Gianni Morbidelli of Palm Beach-Al Futtaim came in third. Luizzi's teammate Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum, who started from seventh in the 14-car grid of the opening race of season two, did well to finish fifth, 15.815 seconds behind the winner. Earlier, Kamui Kobayashi got the Dubai Grand Racing weekend of to a blazing start with victory in Race 1 of the second round of the GP2 Asia Series. The Japanese driver, who was second to Roldan Rodriguez in the feature race at Shanghai in October, finished 14.378 seconds ahead of Durango's Davide Valsecchi. Piquet GP's Rodriguez was a further 1.162 seconds down and the Spaniard has now dropped behind Kobayashi in the championship race. Hamad al Fardan's hopes of a good show in Dubai came to a crashing halt in the third lap of the race. The Bahraini, who started from 19th, had risen to ninth before he clipped the Dubai-based Andres Zuber's car from the outside. In the FIA GT3 European Championship, leaders James Ruffier and Arnaud Peyroles have virtually sealed the title by winning race one of the final round. The Corvette Z06R duo finished ahead of Thomas Accary and Pierre-Brice Mena (Aston Martin DBRS9 No8) and Ford GT's Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer. arizvi@thenational.ae