Parente holds on for win in chaotic 100th GP2 race Portuguese driver claims first Ocean Racing win Alvaro Parente has taken the first win for his Ocean Racing Technology team with a masterful demonstration of pace and guile to...
Parente holds on for win in chaotic 100th GP2 race
Portuguese driver claims first Ocean Racing win
Alvaro Parente has taken the first win for his Ocean Racing Technology team with a masterful demonstration of pace and guile to lead from lights to flag this afternoon at Spa-Francorchamps, with only a late safety car period reducing the gap back to Nico Hulkenberg and Lucas di Grassi.
The race was delayed for 15 minutes for a serious accident in the pitlane, but when the lights went out all eyes were on turn one: Parente was slightly slower to get away than fellow front row starter Nico Hulkenberg, but he had the inside line and was able to pip the German to the corner and lead the field down to Eau Rouge.
Di Grassi soon made up for his penalty after yesterday's qualifying: a strong start saw him slot past Diego Nunes for third, with Pastor Maldonado just behind the pair, but title challenger Vitaly Petrov went the opposite way and had fallen to ninth by the end of the first lap.
Parente knew his job and he carried it out to perfection, pulling out a gap to Hulkenberg on every lap as the rest of the field dropped out of the German's mirrors, with Karun Chandhok dropping backwards from sixth as the pit stops approached and taking the field with him.
Petrov's race was over on lap six as his engine gave up on him, while Chandhok came out of the pits on the same lap and tried an optimistic move on Davide Valsecchi at the end of the main straight and spun, taking Davide Rigon into the wall with him: the leaders came in over the next two laps, with Parente holding position ahead of Hulkenberg and setting about increasing the gap yet again.
On lap 13 Luca Filippi, who had just slid inside Valsecchi at the Bus Stop for tenth, lost his car at the end of the straight and spun, leaving his countryman with no way to avoid him: the safety car was soon out to allow their safe removal from the track, forcing Parente to rebuild his lead all over again.
With one lap to go Parente was easily holding on from Hulkenberg when Stefano Coletti, who was running an impressive ninth, went straight on at the bottom of Eau Rouge for a huge accident, prompting the safety car to emerge once again. One lap later Parente led Hulkenberg across the line just ahead of di Grassi, who had been desperately holding on from Maldonado before the safety car re-emerged, as the chequered flag dropped.
Diego Nunes was fifth after a strong performance, with Roldan Rodriguez sliding past Giedo van der Garde for sixth with five laps remaining and staying there, while Kamui Kobayashi claimed the final points paying position. But all the applause in the pitlane was for Alvaro Parente as he sprayed the champagne to celebrate possibly the most popular win of the season.