GP2 Series

Filippi Sprints To Victory In Frantic Spa Race

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Luca Filippi scored his second win of the GP2 Series season with victory in an exciting Sunday morning sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Josef Kral started from pole position after having his finished position from Saturday's race switched by the stewards, and the Czech youngster led away and opened up a decent gap in the early laps.

The story of the start however was the stunning start from Johnny Cecotto Jr, who reacted quicker than everyone else to the lights going out and flew from 11th on the grid. Diving down the inside into La Source, the Venezuelan moved into second place on the opening lap.

Filippi got himself up to third place from fifth on the grid during the opening couple of laps by taking Dani Clos and then Fairuz Fauzy at Les Combes. He then eventually got by Cecotto a few laps later and set off after Kral.

The safety car came out midway through the race when Fabio Leimer appeared to crash heavily at the top of Eau Rouge. He lost control of the car on his way up the hill, and although the impact with the tyre barrier wasn't caught by the television cameras, his car was stranded on the exit of the corner minus a rear axle which was left in the barriers. The Swiss driver was able to walk away seemingly unscathed.

Filippi took the lead from Kral at Les Combes on the restart, while behind hell broke loose as Cecotto and Fauzy came under attack for third and fourth places. Romain Grosjean, who wrapped up the title yesterday, made his way through into third place. Cecotto managed to regain the position, and as a result Grosjean came under attack from Clos and Jules Bianchi, with the trio running three-abreast into Eau Rouge. Bianchi won out and took fourth place, while Grosjean held onto fifth ahead of Clos.

Bianchi soon took third from Cecotto, before chasing down Kral and passing the Czech driver in the closing laps. Grosjean soon got past Cecotto for good, with Kral holding onto the final podium place. Cecotto fell all the way back to eighth by the checkered flag, with Sam Bird charging through to fifth at the finish past Clos.

With Grosjean having seal the title the attention has turned to the scrap for second overall. A point-less weekend for Giedo van der Garde leaves the Dutchman just one point ahead of Bianchi, with Charles Pic, Bird and Filippi not too far behind. The season finale takes place at Monza in two weeks time.

Race results – 18 laps:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 39:34.834
2 Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 4.476
3 Josef Kral Arden International 6.857
4 Romain Grosjean DAMS 7.685
5 Sam Bird iSport International 8.993
6 Dani Clos Racing Engineering 12.952
7 Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 14.364
8 Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 19.360
9 Brendon Hartley Ocean Racing Technology 19.634
10 Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 20.192
11 Adam Carroll Super Nova Racing 21.472
12 Marcus Ericsson iSport International 22.033
13 Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 22.348
14 Jolyon Palmer Arden International 22.917
15 Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 23.672
16 Max Chilton Carlin 27.960
17 Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 28.510
18 Pal Varhaug DAMS 28.540
19 Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 28.853
20 Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 29.374
21 Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 59.072
Ret Julian Leal Rapax 13 laps
Ret Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 13 laps
Ret Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 12 laps
Ret Fabio Leimer Rapax 7 laps

Drivers' standings after 8 of 9 rounds:

1. Romain Grosjean, 83pts
2. Giedo van der Garde, 49
3. Jules Bianchi, 48
4. Charles Pic, 42
5. Luca Filippi, 40
6. Sam Bird, 37

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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