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.

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

Other 2023 Injury News

450 riders
Eli Tomac, Achilles tendon | It was just a freak deal
Justin Barcia,
collarbone and shoulder
Jason Anderson, vertebrae
Christian Craig, elbow
Marvin Musquin, wrist
Malcolm Stewart, knee | Signs two-year extension
Aaron Plessinger, hip | returned at Salt Lake City
Dylan Ferrandis, concussion | Will not return until Motocross
Cooper Webb,
concussion | returned at Pala

250 riders
Nate Thrasher, hip
Stilez Robertson, leg
Cameron McAdoo, shoulder
Seth Hammaker, arm and wrist
Austin Forkner, knee | Injury isn’t the hardest part
Jo Shimoda, collarbone | returned at Atlanta
Jalek Swoll, arm | returned at Pala