GP2: Haryanto storms to maiden victory in Bahrain sprint

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Rio Haryanto emerged victorious from the second race of the 2015 GP2 Series season in Bahrain on Sunday after fighting from seventh place on the grid to clinch his maiden win in the championship.

The Indonesian driver had rallied to finish second in the feature race on Saturday behind McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, but left the ART Grand Prix driver trailing off the line by shooting up to third place by the first corner.

Haryanto then picked off Mitch Evans and pole-sitter Julian Leal to move into the lead of the race, and never looked back, managing the gap to the chasing pack to win the race by three seconds.

“It’s been a long time coming for me,” Haryanto said. “The last race that I won was actually in GP3 in Hungary in 2011. I’ve been fighting a lot in my years in GP2, trying to get a win and I’ve made some mistakes.

“Today, finally, everything just came together. I had a great start and a great first lap. I was able to get into the lead quite early in the race. After that, I was able to maintain the gap to my closest rival until the end. It was a perfect race for me.”

Vandoorne had been bidding to complete a perfect weekend on Sunday, but was forced to settle for second place in the sprint race after fighting his way through the field. Nathanael Berthon completed the podium after passing American driver Alexander Rossi for P3 on the final lap of the race.

Leal eventually crossed the line in fifth place ahead of debutant Nobuharu Matsushita for ART, whilst Robert Visoiu and Andre Negrao completed the points-paying positions in P7 and P8 respectively.

With 43 points already in the books, Vandoorne has lived up to his billing as title favorite early on in 2015. Aiding his cause is the fact that title rivals Pierre Gasly and Raffaele Marciello both failed to score any points in the opening weekend of racing, leaving them with plenty of catching up to do.

The GP2 Series resumes in support of the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.