GP2: Vandoorne victorious in eventful Spa feature race


Stoffel Vandoorne extended his lead at the top of the GP2 Series championship by winning his home race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

After securing his fourth pole position of the season on Friday, Vandoorne was fortunate to retain the lead at the end of the first lap after bogging down off the line.

The Belgian was swamped by Sergey Sirotkin and Oliver Rowland on the run down to La Source, but contact between the two drivers allowed Vandoorne to retain his lead.

American driver Alexander Rossi made a lightning start to jump from P8 to P2 on the first lap, giving chase to Vandoorne in the early stages of the race.

However, proceedings were interrupted when Daniel de Jong slammed into the wall at Blanchimont following a clash with Pierre Gasly, leaving the Dutchman requiring medical assistance.

The safety car was soon deployed, allowing some of the drivers – including Vandoorne – to dive into the pit lane before the race was red flagged due to the incident.

De Jong was reported to be conscious and talking by GP2 officials, and has since been transferred to a local hospital to allow further assessments to take place.

When the race resumed, Rossi found himself leading, but was one of a number of drivers that still had to complete a mandatory pit stop, thus negating their advantage.

Once the pit cycle was completed, it was Vandoorne who once again rose to the head of the field. The Belgian eventually eased his car home by ten seconds from Arthur Pic.

“Yeah today was a very great day for us,” Vandoorne said after the race. “The whole weekend had started perfectly for us.

“We were quickest in free practice and then quickest in qualifying as well. To win my home race is something really special. I came very close last year finishing second and today it felt a bit like a revenge.”

Vandoorne and Pic were joined on the podium by Artem Markelov, who managed to charge through the field to clinch third place at the end. Julian Leal finished fourth for Carlin ahead of Mitch Evans and Rossi, who came to blows at the final corner when fighting over fifth place.

Fresh from his Formula E test earlier this week, Nathanael Berthon finished seventh, whilst Jordan King crossed the line in eighth place to give himself reverse grid pole for Sunday.