For the first time since the rounds in Spain back in May, the Arden International team managed to score points, with Andre Negrao taking advantage of the tricky wet conditions to score in both the GP2 Series Feature and the Sprint race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Team-mate Rene Binder was less fortunate, an accident cost him the chance of a good result on Saturday, while he was stuck in traffic throughout on Sunday.
Despite a disappointing qualifying session, Negrao had a quietly impressive Feature race at Spa-Francorchamps, so much so that he was able to score his first points of the season, and only missed out on taking the reverse grid pole for the Sprint race on the penultimate lap when the charging Daniel Abt of Hilmer Motorsport managed to make a move stick at the final corner. He followed his first points on Saturday with another point on Sunday for eighth place.
“Qualifying wasn’t great, I started twenty-fourth on the grid for the first race,” said Negrao. “With a very wet track I had a super start and made up lots of places before the red flag came out. From there I just tried to gain as much as possible, with a good pit stop I managed to get up to eighth but I finished ninth; my highest finish in GP2 and my first points.
“I had a good position to start race two and made up lots of places again but despite fighting hard I lost places and finished eighth. Overall it was a good weekend for me and I hope we can keep the progress going to Monza.”
Team-mate Binder’s weekend was compromised by a clash with Artem Markelov of Russian Time on lap five that saw the Austrian’s Feature race come to an abrupt end. He was disappointed as he was close to Abt who ultimately finished eighth, and Binder was sure points could have been possible.
“Qualifying was not too bad, there was only a 1 second gap to pole so I had high hopes of our pace in the race,” reflected Binder. “Unfortunately, for race one it was raining and I didn’t have a great start. I was behind Daniel Abt so think I could have finished there. Unfortunately, there was an early crash with Markelov and I couldn’t do anything. My weekend was ruined there.
”The positive things we can take is that qualifying was good, I lost four-tenths due to my own mistake, so we could have made the top ten I think.”