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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III