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De Puniet defies Nieto and the wishes of the home crowd

De Puniet defies Nieto and the wishes of the home crowd

De Puniet defies Nieto and the wishes of the home crowd

Randy De Puniet scored his first ever GP victory under the hot Spanish sun at the Circuit de Catalunya and wrecked a Spanish party by holding off the late challenge of Fonsi Nieto.

The fast Frenchman recorded what some would say an overdue race win and faced a diluted threat from the Spaniard on the final lap as Nieto claimed his team made a mistake with his pit-board indicating that he was on the penultimate circulation when it was in fact the last.

De Puniet´s success was made easier when Championship leader and fellow contender for victory Manuel Poggiali was forced to retire on lap 12 with engine trouble. Ant West crossed the line in third for his best ever GP finish ahead of Toni Elias, who suffered with a bad start. Naoki Matsudo climbed up to fifth while Robbie Rolfo was another who made a poor start and could only climb up to ninth.

Poggiali´s Championship lead has now shrunk considerably and he leads the trio of Elias, De Puniet and Nieto equal in second and trailing by only seven points.

Tags:
250cc, 2003, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

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