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Elias recovers from practice prang to disappear with Portuguese GP

Elias recovers from practice prang to disappear with Portuguese GP

Elias recovers from practice prang to disappear with Portuguese GP

Toni Elias shook off a headache due to a crash that saw him taken to hospital for a scan yesterday to effortlessly win the 250cc GP at Estoril this afternoon. The works Aprilia rider escaped from the pack midway through the distance to record his third win of the season, ahead of Manuel Poggiali and Randy de Puniet.

The main juice of the race after Elias's disappearance lied in the tight three-way battle for second position between Poggiali, Seba Porto and Roby Rolfo. Poggiali, the Championship leader, constantly found himself surrounded by Hondas and the tussle was the picture of measured aggression on the narrow and restrictive circuit for most of the GP until the last two laps.

The action took on the form of a bitter 125cc scrap and came to a height when Porto rushed into the chicane too fast while fourth and rammed into Rolfo. The Argentine hit the floor while his Honda compatriot wobbled but remained upright.

Randy De Puniet struggled to live with the pace of his peers for large spells of the race but found some reserve on the last lap to be in the right place at the right time as Rolfo desperately tried to regain his composure. The Frenchman was able to drift into third position leaving the Italian licking his wounds in fourth. Such was the margin of the leaders that Porto was able to remount despite a broken exhaust and take fifth. Franco Battaini beat his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli to sixth while Naoki Matsudo was eighth.

Fonsi Nieto was the only one of the five riders closely vying for the Championship and split by 19 points before the GP not to figure at the front. The Spaniard eventually crossed the line down in ninth in front of Antony West.

De Puniet now has notched three consecutive podiums while Elias and Poggiali both have the same number of GP victories. For the second race in a row Nieto has failed to break into the top five. Poggiali leads the way by 14 points from Elias, Rolfo 17 behind in third and De Puniet trailing by 19, Nieto faces a 22 point gap in fifth.

Tags:
250cc, 2003, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

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