Speedcar: Series Qatar race two report

Liuzzi wins but Melandri stars 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 ...

Liuzzi wins but Melandri stars

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: <pre> Race 2 Preliminary Classification

Pos  Driver         Team                 Laps   Time / Gap
 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

Pos  Driver                 R1   R2   R3   R4   R5   R6   TOTAL
 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

-credit: sc

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Jacques Villeneuve , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Marco Melandri , Giovanni Lavaggi , Thomas Biagi , Gianni Morbidelli , Damien Pasini , Marchy Lee , Christopher Zöchling , Hasher Al Maktoum
Teams Phoenix Racing