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Doohan takes Spa F2 feature race win over new leader Pourchaire

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Jack Doohan came from 11th on the grid to win the Spa-Francorchamps Formula 2 feature race ahead of Theo Pourchaire, who takes over the championship lead.

Erstwhile points leader Frederik Vesti missed the start after crashing on his way to the grid, losing control on cold slick tyres when he hit the brakes at Les Combes and hitting the barriers. Behind him, Victor Martins survived a spin exiting the support pit-lane.

With the front row to himself, poleman Ollie Bearman comfortably kept the lead ahead of Pourchaire, who made a fast getaway from row three.

Dennis Hauger started alongside Pourchaire but was baulked by a slow Ralph Boschug on the exit of the first corner, and then collected when fellow Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa – who started 16th – lost the rear of his car in Les Combes. While Iwasa retired with damage, Hauger eventually got going again when the marshals started to push his car, something that landed him a black flag.

At the restart, Rodin Carlin team-mates Zane Maloney and Enzo Fittipaldi made contact over third place at Les Combes, dropping the former to fifth behind Martins. Behind, Roy Nissany and Arthur Leclerc banged wheels on entry to Eau Rouge, sending the latter into a scary spin with a puncture.

Two laps after the restart, Bearman locked up and went straight at Les Combes under pressure from Pourchaire, who had the straight-line speed to challenge again several times before they pitted together at the end of lap 14 to swap their soft tyres for mediums.

ART Grand Prix serviced Pourchaire faster and got him out ahead. Having caught the top two, Fittipaldi inherited the lead when they stopped but slipped behind Bearman and Martins after rejoining on cold tyres.

Doohan now inherited the lead having started on the alternative strategy. He made limited progress at first, before putting an impressive move around the outside of Isack Hadjar in the Fagnes chicane. Hadjar would trigger a virtual safety car a few laps later when he slid into the pit wall after being one of the first to pit – a lap after Clement Novalak had understeered over the exit line.

A safety car on lap 15 presented Doohan with the chance to pit and rejoin just Pourchaire, and take the restart with five laps to go on fresher, softer rubber. Pourchaire did the fastest lap on the first lap after the restart, but Doohan was only four tenths of a second behind and capitalised on the DRS becoming available to sweep into the lead down the Kemmel Straight.

The Virtuosi driver sealed his second feature race win in a week by 1.9 seconds over Pourchaire, who now leads Vesti by 12 points.

Martins beat Bearman to finish third on the road but both took five-second penalties: Martins for speeding in the pit-lane and Bearman for making contact with his rival at Les Combes with three laps to go.

Fittipaldi therefore inherited third ahead of Maloney, with Martins and Bearman sandwiching Richard Verschoor.

Race result (25 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Jack Doohan Virtuosi Racing 59m01.766s
2 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix +1.952s
3 Enzo Fittipaldi Carlin +9.118s
4 Zane Maloney Carlin +10.131s
5 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix +10.528s
6 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing +10.578s
7 Ollie Bearman Prema +12.701s
8 Kush Maini Campos Racing +13.782s
9 Roman Stanek Trident +16.526s
10 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +17.637s
11 Arthur Leclerc DAMS +18.998s
12 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing +19.782s
13 Roy Nissany PHM by Charouz +20.664s
14 Clement Novalak Trident +23.852s
15 Josh Mason PHM by Charouz +25.253s
16 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi Racing +27.900s
Ret Jak Crawford Hitech GP
Ret Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport
Ret Isack Hadjar Hitech GP
Ret Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport
Ret Ayumu Iwasa DAMS
DNS Frederik Vesti Prema
Fastest lap: Doohan, 1m59.871s

Championship standings
Pourchaire 168   2 Vesti 156   3 Iwasa 134   4 Doohan 130   5 Martins 120   6 Bearman 102   7 Fittipaldi 98   8 Verschoor 84   9 Hauger 82   10 Maloney 78