Luca Ghiotto produced a stunning performance to take victory in the GP3 Series Sprint Race of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
He had to do it the hard way by passing his title rivals from fourth on the grid to claim a well deserved victory. ART Grand Prix‘s Esteban Ocon also drove a great race to finish second with his team mate Alfonso Celis Jr collecting his maiden podium in third.
Arden International’s Aleksander Bosak started the race from reverse pole. The Polish driver was slow away at the start with Campos Racing’s Alex Palou taking full advantage to go straight into the lead.
All eyes were on the battle between the trio of ART cars as they raced wheel to wheel at the start. Ocon, from sixth on the grid first got the better of Ghiotto and Marvin Kirchhöfer and then made the move stick on Celis Jr. The Frenchman looked fired to make up for losing yesterday’s win after a time penalty.
Eventual Race 1 winner – after Ocon’s penalty – Emil Bernstorff was one of the first retirements as he came into the pitlane for a premature end to his weekend with a broken suspension.
On lap 3, Bosak who had dropped a handful of places at the start, ran wide with a sudden front-right puncture and ended his race in the barrier at Blanchimont. A loose wheel from his Arden International car made contact with the front left of Matthew Parry’s Koiranen GP car, resulting in damage to his machine, and the retirement of both drivers. It was lucky for both drivers to be able to walk away from the incident.
As a result of this, the safety car was deployed and once the action resumed, Series leader Ghiotto looked on a mission: The Italian soon picked off Celis Jr for third after a super re-start, but there was more action to come after an incident between Kirchhöfer and Carlin and Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco. The German had tried to pass the Italian and contact was made, Fuoco then spun in front of the remainder of the field and was collected again by the ART Grand Prix star who was unable to avoid him. Unfortunately for the dicing duo their race was over with both drivers OK.
The safety car was deployed due to the debris on track and once the track was clear, Ghiotto made his next bold move, this time on his nearest title rival, Ocon for second place. The Italian knew what he had to do as he began to hunt down race leader Palou. He reeled the Spaniard in one lap later to snatch the lead and pulled a small deficit.
Ocon didn’t want to let his main competitor out of his sight and he quickly got past Palou to move back into second place. The Campos driver soon fell into the clutches of Celis Jr who passed the rookie for the final podium place on offer on the penultimate lap.
As the chequered flag was waved, Ghiotto claimed victory by a mere 0.8s from Ocon, with Celis. Jr enjoying his maiden podium success. Matheo Tuscher posted his best result of the campaign with fourth after passing Palou on the final lap, with Alex Fontana, Artur Janosz and Ralph Boschung completing the top eight.
Ghiotto has now extended his lead in the Drivers’ Standings to 28 points after pocketing a further two points for fastest lap. Ocon is second on 126 with his teammate Kirchhöfer on 113. In the Teams’ Standings, ART Grand Prix holds top spot on 258, Trident are second with 175 and Arden International are third on 158.
Round 6 will take place at Monza, Italy on 04-06 September 2015.
Spa-Francorchamps Race 2 Result
|2||Esteban Ocon||ART Grand Prix||+0.878|
|3||Alfonso Celis Jr.||ART Grand Prix||+5.144|
|4||Matheo Tuscher||Jenzer Motorsport||+6.891|
|5||Alex Palou||Campos Racing||+7.993|
|6||Alex Fontana||Status Grand Prix||+8.348|
|8||Ralph Boschung||Jenzer Motorsport||+11.014|
|9||Adderly Fong||Koiranen GP||+11.611|
|10||Pal Varhaug||Jenzer Motorsport||+12.230|
|13||Kevin Ceccon||Arden International||+14.506|
|14||Seb Morris||Status Grand Prix||+14.900|
|16||Jimmy Eriksson||Koiranen GP||+16.008|
|17||Sandy Stuvik||Status Grand Prix||+18.795|
|18||Zaid Ashkanani||Campos Racing||+32.579|
|RET||Marvin Kirchofer||ART Grand Prix||L5|
|RET||Matthew Parry||Koiranen GP||L1|
|RET||Emil Bernstorff||Arden International||L1|
|RET||Aleksander Bosak||Arden International||L1|