Spa: Race one report

Maldonado glides home! Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) kept his 100% record going on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In near-apocalyptic conditions, the Venezuelan managed to hold on to finish ahead of Sean McIntosh (KTR), who claimed a...

Maldonado glides home!

Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) kept his 100% record going on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In near-apocalyptic conditions, the Venezuelan managed to hold on to finish ahead of Sean McIntosh (KTR), who claimed a spot on the podium for the first time! Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) collected some valuable points in third place.

After threatening to pour down all day, the heavens finally opened mid-afternoon. The drivers were allowed to complete several reconnaissance laps before coming to settle on the start grid. This saw the first bit of drama of the day, as Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) crashed off and Matteo Meneghello (GD) and Alvaro Parente (Victory) ran into one another in the pit lane! The Race Director decided to give the go-ahead for the race to start after two laps were completed behind the safety car.

A clash at the rear of the field on lap one between Alessandro Bonetti (Jenzer) and Pasquale di Sabatino (Cram) spelt retirement for another two drivers! When the safety car was finally withdrawn and the race could resume, Robbie Kerr (KTR) took a rather unconventional detour via the gravel trap, but the British driver managed to get back onto the track.

Pastor Maldonado completed lap three in the lead, with Sebastian Vettel (Carlin) almost glued to his rear wing. The two leaders had opened a slight gap over Alx Danielsson (Comtec), Andy Soucek and Tomas Kostka (Draco). James Rossiter (Pons) went off while lapping in 15th place, and was forced to retire.

On lap 4, Sean McIntosh moved up to 5th place, ahead of Kostka. Early on lap 5, Sebastian Vettel went off on the Raidillon, crashing hard into the barriers. The debris left by his single-seater caused Alx Danielsson to go off and meant that the safety car had to be brought out again. Injured with an open fracture to the finger, Sebastian Vettel was handed over into the care of the doctors. Ben Hanley (Cram) came into the pits and stayed there, his race over due to broken rear suspension.

At that stage, Maldonado led the race, ahead of Soucek, McIntosh, Kostka, Barba, Garcia, Van Lagen, Montanari, Valsecchi and Pilet. The race resumed after two laps, but then Bruce Jouanny (RC) went off at Raidillon, caught out by the same pool of water as Vettel and Danielsson. The safety car came back out for one lap; Sean McIntosh had just enough time, however, to snatch second spot from Andy Soucek. Garcia and Van Lagen also managed to get past Barba, while Valsecchi overtook Montanari.

At the restart, McIntosh caught Maldonado unawares and moved into the lead! Alvaro Parente, who had rejoined the track four laps off the pace, added his name to the list of retirements. Not prepared to give up the win, Maldonado snatched back control of the race on lap 8. Further back, Eric Salignon stole 10th spot away from Patrick Pilet.

At the end of lap 10, Tomas Kostka came into the pits to retire, after a minor collision. Montanari moved back into 7th ahead of Valsecchi, while Pilet's name disappeared from the timing screens. Steven Kane (Epsilon) thus moved into the points.

Pastor Maldonado: "It was a difficult race from start to finish, with three safety car periods and a lot of accidents. I just drove cautiously. I wanted to win."

Sean McIntosh: "Congratulations to the team for changing my engine before the race. I saw that I had got past Pastor before the green flag so I let him retake the lead."

Andy Soucek: "It's been a crazy weekend. The car had a problem before leaving the paddock and I thought that I wasn't going to be able to start the race. It's incredible to finish on the podium. I think I had a good race, considering the conditions."

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Bruce Jouanny , Robbie Kerr , Eric Salignon , Steven Kane , James Rossiter , Sean McIntosh , Alvaro Parente , Matteo Meneghello , Pastor Maldonado , Sebastian Vettel , Patrick Pilet , Mikhail Aleshin , Tomas Kostka , Alessandro Bonetti , Pasquale di Sabatino , Andy Soucek , Ben Hanley
Teams Carlin