A Dane was expected to win the first Formula Renault 3.5 race at Spa but not many would have anticipated the manner in which Marco Sorensen took his first victory in the season.
It was supposed to be Kevin Magnussen, who tustled with Sam Bird for much of the afternoon, who would take the glory but a moment of magnificent opportunism saw Sorensen steal a march on his rivals for his first win.
The Lotus driver capitalised on a scrap for the lead between Magnussen and Bird, with Sorensen tailing them in the initial stages on third.
When Lucas Foresti‘s stationary DAMS car brought out the safety car the field bunched up and Magnussen, who had initially controlled the race ahead of Bird, Sorensen and Robin Frijns and Jules Bianchi, now found himself under considerable pressure.
At the end of the first lap after the safety car, Bird was able to get alongside on the approach to the Bus Stop chicane.
Both drivers cut the chicane, with Bird emerging in the lead.
As Bird slowed to let Magnussen retake the place, Sorensen stole a march on the Briton and overtook the pair of them on the run down to La Source to dramatically lead the race and from then he was never troubled.
He said: “I came up behind two cars that had slowed after cutting the chicane, and I had no other choice but to pass and avoid them.
“It's an important victory for me and for the team, who are realising the potential shown since the beginning.”
Bird tried to pass Magnussen on the inside at the Bus Stop a lap later and despite completing the pass both ran wide once more, allowing Bianchi and Frijns to sneak into second and third.
Bianchi said: “I was opportunistic in the race, as you have to be when things are so competitive.”
Frijns could not hold Bird off at La Source though, and after surrendering third place to the ISR driver the Dutchman fell down the order.
For Bird, it was a case of what might have been.
He said: “I think Kevin Magnussen defended his first place a bit too much. It cost him – and me, to a lesser extent – a good result.
“In the end, the points for finishing third are good for me in terms of the championship, and it's my third podium finish in a row.”
The drama did not even there though for Magnussen; running fourth, he made contact with Arthur Pic into La Source and was forced to retire, allowing the 2010 champion Mikhail Aleshin to take fourth place.
Results - 21 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Marco Sorensen Lotus 46m10.968s 2. Jules Bianchi Tech 1 + 2.081s 3. Sam Bird ISR + 4.639s 4. Mikhail Aleshin RFR + 14.966s 5. Nico Muller Draco + 15.375s 6. Jake Rosenzweig ISR + 22.451s 7. Robin Frijns Fortec + 25.361s 8. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 28.324s 9. Nick Yelloly Comtec + 28.923s 10. Nikolay Martsenko BVM Target + 29.238s 11. Alexander Rossi Arden + 30.121s 12. Andre Negrao Draco + 30.527s 13. Will Stevens Carlin + 30.973s 14. Daniil Move P1 + 31.704s 15. Arthur Pic DAMS + 31.822s 16. Giovanni Venturini BVM Target + 33.860s 17. Yann Cunha Pons + 47.383s 18. Zoel Amberg Pons + 1m10.076s 19. Lewis Williamson Arden + 1m51.553s Retirements: Vittorio Ghirelli Comtec 20 laps Kevin Magnussen Carlin 18 laps Richie Stanaway Lotus 13 laps Lucas Foresti DAMS 7 laps Carlos Huertas Fortec 5 laps Kevin Korjus Tech 1 0 laps Anton Nebylitskiy RFR 0 laps