Alexander Rossi has held off Pierre Gasly in the closing stages of a shortened Feature Race to claim his third victory in three GP2 weekends.
Stoffel Vandoorne came in third for ART and will have to wait until tomorrow to try and seal the championship.
Poleman Alex Lynn got off to a great start, leaving the bogged down Vandoorne to defend his position from Rossi, Gasly and Arthur Pic.
Pic had made a brilliant getaway from fifth and made a lunge for second place at the Turn 2, although it cost him a clean exit and he had to settle behind Rossi in third.
The race was brought to an abrupt halt as the red flag was brought out after multiple first lap incidents; the first coming from Russian Time’s Artem Markelov.
The Russian driver was one of a handful of drivers who utilised the run-off area at Turn 2, although while re-joining the track, kept his foot down and clipped the inside barrier, causing him to slide into oncoming traffic. The result saw Marlon Stöckinger and Sergio Canamasas get caught up in Markelov’s mess and crash into the barrier at the start of Turn 3.
Jordan King was another driver to exit the race on the first lap, as he also out-braked himself into Turn 2 and ran up the backside of Stöckinger. This left King with a damaged front wing and as he went to take the long sweeping Turn 3, he veered off into the barrier as a result of lack of downforce.
Many drivers used the delay in the race while the barriers were being repaired from King’s shunt to change their helmet visors, as the sun was setting quickly and visibility becoming an issue.
The race was eventually restarted behind the safety car after a delay of over 20 minutes. Race leader Lynn set about creating a gap to Rossi and avoid a DRS charge, his plan worked as at the end of the first lap he had put a two-second buffer between himself and the American.
The race had been shortened from 28 laps to 15, and strategy became crucial as drivers still had to make their mandatory pit stops to use both compound tyres.
Lynn was the first to make his pit stop at the end of Lap 6 to put on the medium compound tyre and dispose of his softs; DAMS having the benefit of data from both drivers given Gasly started the race on the mediums.
Rossi made the dive into pit lane two laps after Lynn and re-joined ahead of the Briton, although his lead was brief as Lynn’s tyres were already up to temperature. Lynn was able to re-take the net lead of the race on the outside of Turn 3.
By this stage, Gasly was on the back of Rossi having strapped on the faster, softer tyres, and was pressing the American for second position.
Lynn’s race then came to a surprising end with three laps remaining when he went too deep into Turn 13 and hit his front left tyre on the barrier trying to return to the track.
This left Rossi with the lead of the race while Vandoorne made a late pit stop to make his mandatory change in tyre compounds. The championship leader rejoined the track behind Rossi and Gasly, but was soon dropped as his cold tyres couldn’t provide enough grip to keep up with the fight for the lead.
One of the drives from the race came from Carlin driver Dean Stoneman. The Englishman had his first drive in a GP2 Series car yesterday in practice and qualified nineteenth. From the back of the grid, the 2014 GP3 Series runner-up made his way through the pack and avoided the carnage to finish an impressive ninth on debut.
|2015 GP2 Series Russia– Feature Race Final Classification (15 laps*)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||15||58:33.520|
|2.||Pierre Gasly||DAMS||15||+ 3.101|
|3.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||15||+ 4.279|
|4.||Sergey Sirotkin||Rapax||15||+ 8.474|
|5.||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||15||+ 11.884|
|6.||Raffaele Marciello||Trident||15||+ 12.695|
|7.||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||15||+ 14.506|
|8.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||15||+ 15.698|
|9.||Dean Stoneman||Carlin||15||+ 20.660|
|10.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||15||+ 23.457|
|11.||Mitch Evans||Russian Time||15||+ 26.819|
|12.||Norman Nato||Arden International||15||+ 27.140|
|13.||Johnny Cecotto Jr||Trident||15||+ 30.727|
|14.||Nathanael Berthon||Daiko Team Lazarus||15||+ 32.828|
|15.||André Negrão||Arden International||15||+ 37.369|
|16.||Rene Binder||MP Motorsport||15||+ 39.930|
|17.||Robert Vișoiu||Rapax||15||+ 42.614|
|18.||Nicholas Latifi||MP Motorsport||15||+ 44.888|
|19.||Sean Galeal||Carlin||15||+ 59.064|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Sergio Canamasas||Daiko Team Lazarus||0||Collision|
|DNF.||Marlon Stöckinger||Status Grand Prix||0||Collision|
|DNF.||Jordan King^||Racing Engineering||0||Accident|
|DNF.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||0||Collision|
* Race distance reduced to 15 of its 28 scheduled laps
^ Post-Race penalties:
Jordan King was ruled to have caused a collision with Marlon Stöckinger at Turn 2 at the start of the race, and was awarded three-place grid penalty by the FIA Stewards. As he will be unable to serve the penalty in full, he will start the Sprint Race from the pit lane.
Images via GP2 Series Media