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GP2: Gasly takes pole for Bahrain feature race

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Pierre Gasly will start tomorrow’s GP2 feature race in Bahrain from pole position after topping the timesheets in qualifying for DAMS.

GP2 returns to Bahrain in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend to make up for the cancelled round in Germany earlier this year.

Gasly managed to edge out 2015 GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne by just 0.040 seconds in a closely-fought battle, producing a lap with three minutes to go that gave him his second pole of the year.

“I am very happy with the result,” Gasly said. “In the last three qualifying sessions, we have managed to take two pole positions. It shows a good evolution compared to the beginning of the season.

“I’m really happy about this results today, especially for the team, but also for me because it was a tough season: the first part was not what we expected and we worked all through the rest of the season and now we’re starting to get the reward.

“I will say that I’m really happy about this pole today. I’m already focused on tomorrow because we know that on this track the tyre degradation is really high and that’s going to be a big challenge. But at the moment, we try to enjoy the result.”

Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello had led the way with a couple of minutes remaining, but was overhauled by both Gasly and Vandoorne late on to leave him third on the grid, 0.076 seconds down on the pole lap.

In the second DAMS car, Alex Lynn qualified fourth ahead of Manor F1 development driver Jordan King and French GP2 rookie Norman Nato. Mitch Evans and Nobuharu Matsushita followed in P7 and P8 respectively.

American driver Alexander Rossi was unable to continue his impressive recent form in GP2, qualifying ninth after failing to make good use of his alternative strategy that gave him a clear track for his hot lap.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.