A fine double overtaking move ultimately gave Daniel Abt his first GP3 Series victory in Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps, which was stopped after only four laps following a nasty crash for Robert Cregan.
A seemingly innocent victim from a collision between David Fumanelli and Alex Brundle at Pouhon, the Irishman ended up going into the tyre barrier backwards at high speed with one of his wheels left resting against the cockpit. He has been taken to hospital, but is reported as conscious and stable.
The maximum time of 25 minutes had already been imposed on the race due to the overrunning GP2 race that preceded it, so the decision was taken to red flag the race immediately and call a result.
Even though it only lasted four laps, the battle for the lead had been a frantic one. Matias Laine got the jump on MW Arden teammate, pole-sitter and points leader Mitch Evans at the start, but then took an off-track excursion at Les Combes and dropped down the order.
Evans inherited the lead, but Antonio Felix da Costa got past a lap later. Evans was back alongside on the run to Les Combes on lap three, and as Felix da Costa held him off at the turn-in, Abt dived past both of them and into the lead. Felix da Costa used the slipstream to pull alongside Abt on lap four but was unable to get by and had to settle for second.
Evans completed the podium in third, to extend his points lead (half points were awarded). Tio Ellinas went from tenth to fourth on the opening lap and finished in the same place, ahead of Laine and Aaro Vainio – Evans’ chief rival. Conor Daly lost a couple of places at the start and finished seventh ahead of Lewis Williamson, who will start Sunday’s race from pole position. Giovanni Venturini and Alex Fontana completed the top ten.
Race two takes place at 08:25 BST on Sunday.