Fourth win for Hartley Marked by three starts due to collisions between drivers, race 2 at Donington Park saw Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) claim his fourth win of the season. The New Zealander, who has a comfortable lead at the top of the...
Fourth win for Hartley
Marked by three starts due to collisions between drivers, race 2 at Donington Park saw Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) claim his fourth win of the season. The New Zealander, who has a comfortable lead at the top of the overall standings, prevailed over his teammate Stefano Coletti, and Nelson Panciatici (Boutsen Energy Racing).
Martin Plowman (Prema Powerteam) was the first to fall foul of a turbulent pack in the opening bends. The safety car was brought out at the end of the first lap. Several drivers were taken by surprise by the slowing traffic ahead of them and were involved in a collision: Roberto Merhi, Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport), Francesc Moreno (Omicron Racing) and Khalil Beschir (Carlin Motorsport). The race was then red-flagged.
The initial grid was reformed for the restart, with the race now scheduled to last 21 minutes plus one lap. Just as the first time around, Brendon Hartley was the first man through the opening bend, followed by Stefano Coletti. But a collision between Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy) and Charles Pic (SG Formula) caused another pile-up. Fabio Leimer (Jenzer Motorsport) was sent into a spectacular multiple roll. Roberto Merhi, whose car had been repaired after the earlier collision, and Jaime Alguersuari (Epsilon Red Bull) were among those forced to retire.
And so the race was restarted again, this time with the safety car out on the track, and without incident. Behind Hartley and Coletti, Nelson Panciatici and Jon Lancaster (SG Formula) were engaged in a fierce battle for third place. They quickly broke away from Alexandre Marsoin (SG Formula), who found himself under pressure from Oliver Oakes (Motopark Academy), Mihai Marinescu (District Racing) and Mika MÃ¤ki (Epsilon Red Bull).
MÃ¤ki took seventh place from Marinescu on lap 5. At the front, Hartley was able to open up a sizeable gap on Coletti. But the battle for fifth between Marsoin, Oakes, MÃ¤ki and Marinescu was far from over. Oakes lost a lot of ground on lap 8, falling back to eighth place. MÃ¤ki, meanwhile, continued to move up the field, passing Marsoin at the end of the same lap. On the penultimate lap, Oakes snatched seventh place back from Marinescu.
The suspense was total right to the finish: with just a few bends remaining before the chequered flag, Hartley made an error that forced him onto the grass. Coletti tried to sneak past him, but the New Zealander managed to hold him off.
Brendon Hartley: "I lost my concentration a little bit at the end of the race and I made a little mistake that could really have cost me. It's the sort of thing I can't afford to do again if I want to reach my goals, which are to finish every race and score as many points as possible...
Stefano Coletti: "When I saw Brendon slip up on the final lap I tried to get past him, while at the same time trying not to run into him. It didn't happen, which is a shame, but it's great for the team to have done the double."
Nelson Panciatici: "I feel really good with the Boutsen Energy Racing team, I think we've done some really good work together this weekend. I hope to improve and pick up a win at Magny-Cours in front of the French crowd."