James Jakes traded his third place on the Malaysia GP2 Asia grid for a podium in the feature race, but fell early victim to monsoon condition in the sprint and crashed out.
Diego Nunes won the first race of the double-header, helped in no small degree by start-line problems for many of the other top qualifiers, while Vitaly Petrov took victory in the rain-delayed sprint.
Kamui Kobayashi remains as series leader, with 47 points to Davide Valsecchi’s 34. The Japanese driver took second in the feature, but lost the final point in the sprint on the final corner to Sergio Perez.
Feature race pole sitter Jerome D’Ambrosio was hit by a transmission problem before the race even began and returned to the pitlane, Jakes suffered a slow start, and his team-mate Javier Villa was left stranded on the line.
The confuson allowed Nunes to build a lead, while Jakes began fighting his way back up the field, passing Yelmer Buurman and Pastor Maldonado to regain fourth. He also took Petrov, but wasn’t quite able to bustle his way past Kobayashi.
He said afterwards: “I made a poor start but was very lucky not to stall and after that I managed to settle into a rhythm and gain a few places. The team made a great pit stop. Apart from the poor start I think we could have won the race today. I look forward to tomorrow’s race and hopefully we can get another podium.”
He could not.
In a foretaste of the Formula One race, heavy rain struck the circuit before the race began, delaying it for half an hour and forcing the first four laps to take place under the safety car.
When racing began, the leaders Pastor Maldonado and Valsecchi survived a minor contact but Jakes spun off the track and out of the race. On lap two Maldonado got past Valsecchi but Petrov took the pair of them and used the drying track to build a winning lead.