Pierre Gasly closes out GP2 pre-season testing fastest

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DAMS driver Pierre Gasly has finished fastest on the final day of winter testing ahead of the start of the new GP2 season in Bahrain later this month.

Gasly has moved into GP2 from Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015, and is plotting an assault on the title in his debut season.

The Red Bull-backed youngster has enjoyed a strong winter testing programme, and rounded it out by posting the fastest time of the final test in Bahrain on Friday.

With a fastest time of 1:39.632, Gasly edged out last year’s runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne by just 0.014 seconds at the top of the timesheets, with Mitch Evans finishing a further 0.033 seconds back in third.

American driver Alexander Rossi and Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello both finished within one-tenth of Gasly to round out the top five, suggesting that the fight for the championship is wide open heading to the first race of the year.

GP2 debutants Sergey Sirotkin, Nobuharu Matsushita, Nigel Melker and Jordan King also topped sessions across the three-day test in Bahrain, and will be hoping to carry this form into their first races later this month.

Once again, GP2 will act as the primary feeder series to Formula 1, supporting the championship for ten of its rounds and finishing on the same weekend in Abu Dhabi this November.

To see a complete classification from the final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain, click here.

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.