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SAM’S THE MAN IN GP2, EARL LORDS IT OVER PORSCHES

22 September, Singapore - Bird and Bamber were the names you needed if you wanted to win the two support race categories at Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of today's 2103 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX.

In the second GP2 race run over 20 laps of the 5.073-km track Carlin’s Sam Bird put pole position to perfect use, streaking away at the start to win by a comfortable 5.787 seconds from Marcus Ericsson of DAMS with Fabio Leimer third in the Racing Engineering car.

Leimer now leads Bird by just seven points as they head for a thrilling series finale with two more races in Abu Dhabi in November.

“I’m pushing him,” said Bird after his fifth race win of the 2013 series. “We’re right there fighting for the title to the last race of the season. Every lap was difficult – it’s so hot out there.”

Leimer, 24, was initially delighted with his podium: “Sam is giving me a hard time,” he said, “but that’s fine, that’s what the championship is all about.” But some of the gloss was taken off the day when the stewards fined the Swiss driver not once, but twice.

One came when the team allowed a wheel to roll into the fast lane in the pits. The other was for an incident on the slow-down lap.

Leimer was on his way back to pit lane for the podium ceremony when he collected Alex Rossi’s Caterham, making its way back to the support paddock, both cars suffering some damage.

New Zealanders dominated the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race, half of whose 12 laps were run under the Safety Car after a second-lap incident left Alif Hamdan’s GT3 Cup Car in the wall between Turns 14 and 15 with substantial damage back and front.

Released for just three racing laps at the finish, 23-year-old pole-winner and series newcomer Bamber held on in his Nexus Racing entry to win by just over a second from compatriot Craig Baird, the winner here for the last two years, in the SC Global Racing entry.

Team Eagle’s Martin Ragginger was third, meaning Bamber heads for the Shanghai showdown races with a 16-point lead over the Austrian driver as Baird does not score championship points for his one-off appearance.

In Class B series leader Egidio Perfetti of Team Mentos for once had to play second fiddle to Francis Tjia’s OpenRoad Racing entry but still holds a commanding lead as they head to the Middle East.