GP2: Rossi claims first win of 2015 season in Spa sprint race

1 Comment

American driver Alexander Rossi has done his chances of securing a seat with Haas F1 Team in 2016 a world of good by claiming his first victory in the GP2 Series in almost two years at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

Starting third on the grid at Spa, Rossi made a great start to move up to second at the first corner, only trailing Racing Engineering teammate Jordan King on the run up to Eau Rouge.

Rossi began to hassle King, forcing the Briton into a mistake at Les Combes that saw the leader run wide at the exit. Holding onto his line, Rossi swept past into a lead that he would not relinquish.

Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne made a lightning getaway from eighth place on the grid, from where he started by virtue of the reverse grid following his victory on Saturday.

Vandoorne soon managed to pick his way through the order to run third behind the two Racing Engineering cars, placing pressure on King in second place, who in turn was complaining that Rossi was going too slowly up front.

A spin for Arthur Pic at Stavelot resulted in a Virtual Safety Car period, easing some of the pressure on the leaders at the front. When the race resumed, Rossi was able to eke out a bigger gap to King, who no longer had Vandoorne on his tail after the Belgian locked up at the final chicane.

After 18 laps, Rossi crossed the line to claim his first win of the 2015 season by 1.5 seconds over King as Racing Engineering claimed a dominant one-two finish. The result also marked Rossi’s first victory in GP2 since the feature race in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

Vandoorne was unable to keep Mitch Evans back in the battle for third place, leaving the championship leader to settle for fourth place at the flag. Artem Markelov finished fifth ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, who claimed sixth at the final corner after passing Nathanael Berthon. Alex Lynn finished eighth for DAMS, rounding out the points.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

0 Comments

Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”