Racing Engineering driver Alexander Rossi claimed victory around the beautiful and historic Monza circuit in Saturday afternoon’s GP2 series Feature Race.
The Italian circuit provided stomping ground for the eighth round of the 2015 GP2 season and proved to be spectacular for the American as he finished ahead of championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne and Mitch Evans; a smooth move on Vandoorne at the start of Lap 23 allowing Rossi to take the chequered flag.
Vandoorne had lined up second on the grid when RUSSIAN TIME’s Evans was disqualified from the final qualifying results on Friday evening. The driver from New Zealand started 23rd on the grid and put in a striking, driver of the day, kind of performance to battle his way through the field to end the Feature Race fourth but when Norman Nato received a five second penalty, the Kiwi officially finished his day on the podium just behind ART Grand Prix’s Vandoorne.
The first incident of the day came from Dutch rookie Meindert van Buuren who was standing in for the injured Daniel de Jong. On Lap 4, the MP Motorsport driver struggled with braking into the high speed Ascari and van Buuren soon found himself in the barrier, the front right of his car destroyed.
The incident spurred a Safety Car which lasted only one lap before retreating back into the pitlane, allowing the racing to get back underway on Lap 5.
Poleman Pierre Gasly had begun the weekend with a storm, the DAMS driver fastest in Free Practice and Qualifying on Friday but a problem with the right rear during his pitstop on Lap 8 saw Gasly forced to retire the car a few laps later.
It was a disastrous day overall for DAMS when Alex Lynn made contact with Sergey Sirotkin on Lap 13 into the first turn. Lynn had ran too deep into turn one and unfortunately took out the Russian with him over the kerbs; both men made their way back to the pits where they called it a day.
The incident played into the hands of Vandoorne who was the leader to the drivers that had already made the compulsory stop. A little further ahead was the intense battle of Richie Stanaway and Artem Markelov but the pair put their battle on pause when they eventually had to make their stops.
When the last of the non-stoppers finally dived into the pits on Lap 23, Rossi made his move on Vandoorne and took charge of the race to grant the American his second race of the season.
Nato and Evans made a move on Arthur Pic just a few laps from the end, taking advantage of the fact the Frenchman was struggling on his brakes when they noticed the black clouds of brake dust from the Campos Racing car. Stanaway and Markelov, who finished fourth and fifth respectively, soon did the same demoted Pic to seventh overall.
Jordan King finished eighth, meaning that he would be on Pole Position for Sunday’s sprint race whilst Robert Visiou and Rene Binder claimed the final points.