The Columbian, now in his second year in the series, mastered wet conditions to finish ahead of Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) and Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports).
Engine faults, later found to be caused by high levels of oil consumption, forced organisers to take unprecedented measures to shorten the time allocated in qualifying and the race. In the end, rain interrupted the qualifying session causing it to eclipse the new fifteen minute time slot. Norman Nato secured his first pole in the DAMS whilst Carlos Huertas and Sergey Sirotkin completed the top three grid positions.
Adding yet more incident to an already eventful qualifying, Saturday’s winner Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) caused a red flag, bringing a sudden halt to proceedings. Unable to provide a sufficient fuel sample, Magnussen was demoted to the back of the grid for race two.
The rain continued prompting the race director to order a safety car start; however the cars of Arthur Pic (AV Formula) and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) were left stranded on the grid, ruling them out of the race start. Pole sitter Norman Nato did not convert his pole into the win he had hoped, an incorrect braking decision forced him to rejoin the race at the back of the field. The Frenchman was later handed a drive-through penalty for dangerous driving.
This allowed Carlos Huertas to take the lead. The race winner spoke of how the weather conditions did not affect him during the race.
“Although there was a little bit of aquaplaning out there, I managed to open up a gap. The car was just perfect.”
This pace was too much for his rivals and the Columbian began to command an impressive lead. Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and Kevin Magnussen, both race winners this year, recovered from their poor qualifying to finish in the points.
Stoffel Vandoorne’s mistake in the pit straight gifted Sergey Sirotkin with an advantage over the Belgian for second place. The fight to the chequered flag was spectacular but the Russian did enough to withstand the pace of the Formula Renault 2.0 champion from last year.
Christopher Zanella (ISR), Arthur Pic (AV Formula), Mihai Marinescu (Zeta Corse) and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) all retired from the race as the weather conditions added yet more obstacles for the drivers. P1 Motorsport’s Will Stevens, Nico Muller (International Draco Racing), Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing), Antonio Felix da Costa and Andre Negrao (SMP Racing by Comtec) were joined by the two Danes, Kevin Magnussen and Marco Sorensen, to complete the points finishers.
This comeback is enough to help Magnussen maintain his championship lead over Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian insists that, for him, the title fight is not over.
“It wasn’t the greatest day for the team, though we still managed to pick up some points and cut the gap on Kevin”.
Results - 14 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Carlos Huertas Carlin 33m19.005s 2. Sergey Sirotkin ISR + 11.921s 3. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec + 16.429s 4. Will Stevens P1 + 24.691s 5. Nico Muller Draco + 26.826s 6. Nigel Melker Tech 1 + 36.735s 7. Antonio F. da Costa Arden Caterham + 42.074s 8. Andre Negrao Draco + 44.125s 9. Kevin Magnussen DAMS + 44.988s 10. Marco Sorensen Lotus + 55.215s 11. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 + 1m00.192s 12. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin + 1m00.787s 13. Yann Cunha AV Formula + 1m17.038s 14. Matias Laine P1 + 1m22.401s 15. Daniil Move Comtec + 1m34.292s 16. Lucas Foresti Comtec + 1m36.191s 17. Oliver Webb Fortec + 1m44.026s 18. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham + 1m45.955s 19. Zoel Amberg Pons + 1m48.671s 20. Norman Nato DAMS + 1m55.868s 21. N.Martsenko Pons + 2m10.822s 22. Matheo Tuscher Zeta Corse + 1 lap Retirements: Christopher Zanella ISR 9 laps Mihai Marinescu Zeta Corse 5 laps Arthur Pic AV Formula 1 laps M.Stöckinger Lotus 0 laps