For the first time in his relatively short GP2 Series career, Raffaele Marciello took victory as the Racing Engineering driver beat ART Grand Prix driver and long time race leader Stoffel Vandoorne at a very wet Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
It was the first time that Marciello, a Ferrari Driver Academy driver, and Vandoorne, the McLaren F1 reserve driver, went head to head for the win, and it was the Italian who came out on top after a great battle by just over two seconds.
The race began on a relatively dry track, and three drivers – Stephane Richelmi of DAMS, Daniel de Jong of MP Motorsport and Takuya Izawa of ART Grand Prix – gambled on dry weather tyres. Unfortunately for those three, the heavens opened up shortly after the start, and on lap three the safety car was deployed and then a red flag shown as the rain turned torrential.
Vandoorne led at the restart but dropped briefly behind Johnny Cecotto Jr of Trident Racing before reassuming the lead when the Venezuelan was given instructions to let the Belgian back through after straight-lining Les Combes and apparently gaining an advantage.
Marciello then passed Cecotto for second, and was 4.6 seconds adrift of Vandoorne when the Belgian went into the pits for his mandatory pit stop. The Italian stayed out for two extra laps, and was only 2 seconds adrift after his own stop, and then closed the gap down to nothing, before sweeping into the lead at Rivage with two laps to go.
Cecotto remained in third but was more than half a minute adrift at the flag, with Felipe Nasr fourth for Carlin four seconds behind the Venezuelan. Mitch Evans recovered to fifth after his Russian Time machine switched into safety mode behind the safety car when running second.
Jolyon Palmer equalled his worst result of the season in sixth for DAMS, but kept up his run of scoring points in every race so far in 2014. He held off one of the stars of the race Artem Markelov over the closing stages, with the young Russian Time driver scoring his first points of the year. His highlight of the race was an amazing pass around the outside of Tom Dillmann of EQ8 Caterham Racing.
Hilmer Motorsport’s Daniel Abt grabbed eighth place and the Sprint race pole position from Arden International’s Andre Negrao at the Bus Stop Chicane on the penultimate lap, while de Jong recovered from making two pit stops (one compulsory, the other to switch from dry to wet tyres at the end of lap one) to take the final point in tenth away from Rapax driver Adrian Quaife-Hobbs on the final lap.
Spa-Francorchamps Feature Race Result
|1||Raffaele Marciello||ITA||Racing Engineering||1h19m29.116s|
|2||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||ART Grand Prix||+2.088s|
|3||Johnny Cecotto Jr||VEN||Trident Racing||+35.375s|
|5||Mitch Evans||NZL||RT Russian Time||+50.526s|
|7||Artem Markelov||RUS||RT Russian Time||+1m01.166s|
|8||Daniel Abt||GER||Hilmer Motprsort||+1m01.776s|
|9||Andre Negrao||BRZ||Arden International||+1m02.872s|
|10||Daniel de Jong||NED||MP Motorsport||+1m05.435s|
|12||Tom Dillmann||FRA||EQ8 Caterham Racing||+1m16.681s|
|14||Marco Sorensen||DEN||MP Motorsport||+1m18.325s|
|15||Arthur Pic||FRA||Campos Racing||+1m18.578s|
|16||Takuya Izawa||JAP||ART Grand Prix||+1m19.110s|
|17||Kimiya Sato||JAP||Campos Racing||+1m21.789s|
|19||Jon Lancaster||GBR||Hilmer Motorsport||+1m32.099s|
|20||Sergio Canamasas||ESP||Trident Racing||+1m33.957s|
|22||Nathanael Berthon||FRA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+1m50.554s|
|RET||Rio Haryanto||INO||EQ8 Caterham Racing||21 Laps|
|RET||Stefano Coletti||MON||Racing Engineering||11 Laps|
|RET||Rene Binder||AUT||Arden International||5 Laps|
|RET||Conor Daly||USA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||0 Laps|