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De Puniet takes third win after tight Elias duel as Poggiali is crowned

De Puniet takes third win after tight Elias duel as Poggiali is crowned

De Puniet takes third win after tight Elias duel as Poggiali is crowned

Randy De Puniet won his third GP of the season after a thrilling race and last lap face-off with local hero Toni Elias in Valencia. In front of a full house under bright blue skies Manuel Poggiali claimed third place to win the 2003 250cc World Championship at his first attempt.

De Puniet seemed to be heading to a simple win after the first half of the distance as he escaped from the pack with only Elias being able to keep in the background. Slowly but surely the Spainard, who won in such exciting fashion with a similar comeback in Jerez, closed upon the Frenchman and fellow Aprilia rider to instigate a tense latter part of the 27 laps. Both youngsters took turns to follow each other but it was clear that the duel for the win would go down to the last circulation and Elias, running second at the start of the final two and half miles, tried on two occasions to seize the lead but was denied by De Puniet and was frustrated by just seven hundredths of a second by the finish line.

Poggiali, despite a huge crash in warm-up, rode a solid and lonely race in third to confirm his first 250cc title in his debut quarter-litre campaign. Roby Rolfo, the only rider capable of denying the rookie, started badly and could not rise higher than 7th; keeping up his impressive and unparalleled scoring record but losing the grand prize.

Sylvain Guintoli was fourth in front of Fonsi Nieto, Sebas Porto and then Rolfo. The Italian takes second in the Championship ahead of Elias with De Puniet in fourth and Nieto fifth. Franco Battaini claimed 8th in the race, 6th overall and the prize for top privateer.

Tags:
250cc, 2003, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana

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