Rossi unstoppable in Barcelona ART man leads race 2 from start to finish Alexander Rossi was in a class of his own this morning finishing 10.53 seconds ahead of his nearest rival to clinch his first GP3 Series victory. The American driver kept...
Rossi unstoppable in Barcelona
ART man leads race 2 from start to finish
Alexander Rossi was in a class of his own this morning finishing 10.53 seconds ahead of his nearest rival to clinch his first GP3 Series victory.
The American driver kept his head and made the perfect start from pole position disappearing into the distance and leading home Lucas Foresti and teammate Esteban Gutierrez.
Having qualified a lowly 28th on Saturday Rossi had powered his way through the field in Race 1 finishing in the coveted eighth spot to start on pole for today's race. When Michael Christensen missed his grid spot it meant a second formation lap for Race 2, leaving Rossi with another long wait whilst the 30-strong field lined up behind him, but the American kept his cool and his race was won from the start.
As the lights went out fourth place man Vergne made a balshy start pushing Jenzer's Simon Trummer wide, the Swiss driver had nowhere to go but the grass. Jean-Eric "JEV" Vergne then shot across the track trying to find a way past Foresti squeezing the Carlin driver off the tarmac. Vergne was later penalised with a drive-through for his over-exuberant moves. Yesterday's race winner Pal Varhaug and Mirko Bortolotti both found themselves casualties of Vergne's moves. With Trummer pushed wide, Varhaug had nowhere to go but the grass sending the young Norwegian spinning into a helpless Mirko Bortolotti.
Meanwhile Rossi was still out in front leading a recovering Foresti, and Gutierrez made a lightening start moving up into third. Further down the grid ART's Pedro Nunes found a way through the ensuing chaos from twelfth to seventh, a great start from the Brazilian. But before the pact had time to settle the safety car was out as a result of the Varhaug- Bortolloti tangle on the start finish straight.
With 12 laps remaining Alexander Rossi powered away on the restart, with the rest of the field following cleaning into turn one. Gutierrez lined-up Foresti to take second, the two drivers wheel-to-wheel until the Mexican ended up going wide trying to pass the ragged Carlin driver on the outside and gifting the place to Vergne. Wickens then put a move on Smith moving himself up behind Gutierrez and a repeat of yesterday's race battle ensued, with Gutierrez stuck behind Vergne until the Tech 1 Racing driver was penalised with a drive-through penalty for his cheeky moves at the start. The penalty gifted the final point of the race to racy Pedro Nunes. The French driver left it until the last possible lap to come in allowing Wickens to close the gap on Gutierrez.
Rossi continued putting in fastest lap after fastest lap, and the Wickens-Gutierrez battle continued right up until the final corner, allowing Dean Smith to move up behind the Status GP and ART drivers with just two laps remaining. Despite his best efforts James Jakes was unable to pinch the final point from Nunes who finished sixth after a solid drive.
Trummer, van der Zande, Cordiero and Monras all received driver through penalties for failing to slow for yellow flags, and Miki Monras' day got worse when he was subsequently penalised for speeding in the pitlane.
And so that's where the race ended: Rossi annihilate the field up front, Foresti held off a bucket load of pressure from Vergne and Gutierrez all race to take second and Gutierrez took the final possum spot. Robert Wickens now leads the Series going into the next round in Turkey with 11 points.
Alexander Rossi, ART Grand Prix "I'm really happy with today's race. We knew after yesterday that it is difficult to pass here so I needed a good start. Luckily I avoided all of the problems and the start and I just focussed on my own race and what I needed to do. I had pace during the race, and after the disappointment yesterday I wanted to make sure I set the fastest lap for the extra point today. It's a great result to head into the next round."
Lucas Foresti, Carlin "That was a really difficult race! I don't think that me or [Alexander] Rossi made a good start and I had to fight hard to keep my place. I was pushed really wide at the start and lost a bit of my front wing, but somehow managed to stay second. Gutierrez put me under a lot of pressure but I just wanted to run my own race and not make any mistakes. It was really important to stay completely focused and I was concentrating 100 per cent the whole race. I'd like to say thanks for the team who gave me a good car this weekend - I'm pleased I was able to give them their first podium in GP3 in return."
Esteban Gutierrez, ART Grand Prix "I had a great start and moved up from P6 to P2 by the first corner, but went wide and ended up behind Foresti. I put pressure on him all through the race but lost a place to Vergne whilst trying to overtake. The car was great today as we made improvements after the race yesterday which I was really happy with. I was disappointment that Vergne stayed out so long after his penalty as I lost the chance to fight for second, but that's racing. We will keep working hard for our first win."
Robert Wickens, Status GP on leading the Series: "I got alongside Gutierrez but really didn't want to take risks and opted for the three points instead. My goal coming into weekend was to leave with the points lead. There are 30 very ambitious drivers out there, and you have to take the points when you can. It's a fantastic start to my season and great to leave Barcelona at the top of the points."