Racing Engineering might not have been in dominant form on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps, but they played the cards that they had to perfection and ended up with a comfortable 1-2 triumph for Alexander Rossi and Jordan King in the GP2 Sunday morning sprint race.

They were helped by a rare mistake from Stoffel Vandoorne at a late restart following a brief virtual safety car period. The McLaren test and development driver looked to be setting up a charge to the front in the final laps, but a big lock-up left him struggling for pace instead and he was ultimately ousted from the podium by a spirited run from Russian Time's Mitch Evans.

CLICK: Full Sunday GP2 sprint race 2 results from Spa-Francorchamps.

After the overnight reshuffle of the grid due to multiple post-race penalties being applied, it was Jordan King who had been handed pole position for Sunday's race alongside the Lazarus of Nathana?l Berthon.

When the lights went out to get the 18-lap sprint race underway, neither of the front row men had the greatest of starts. King's was good enough to keep the lead into La Source but he was under immediate pressure from his team mate Alexander Rossi who harried him all the way up Eau Rouge and down the Kemmel Straight. The pressure finally took its toll and King ran slightly wide at Les Combes, which checked his momentum and gave Rossi just the opportunity that he needed to pounce and take the lead.

Berthon meanwhile had managed to hold on to third place ahead of Carlin's Juli?n Leal, with championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne already having made up three places from his grid position to run in fifth ahead of the Russian Time pair of Mitch Evans and Artem Markelov. Another Russian - Rapax's Sergey Sirotkin - was in eighth ahead of Sergio Canamasas (Lazarus) and Alex Lynn (DAMS), while a brilliant move at Pouhon saw Rio Haryanto (Campos Racing) make quick work of his team mate Arthur Pic for 11th.

With the help of DRS, Vandoorne, Evans and Markelov all made quick work of passing Leal who was clearly struggling to maintain anything like the same sort of pace as those around him at the front. Surprisingly, however, Vandoorne didn't then immediately take off and hunt down Berthon to get on to the podium, apparently prioritising not overtaxing his tyres this early in the race. Others - including Berthon and Canamasas - did not appear as strategically aware and were soon squirming all over the track and looking quite the handful as a result.

The race remained unusually tightly packed, with the top five covered by just three seconds and the top eight by ten seconds after nine laps, no one able to break away from their pursuers but equally everyone finding it difficult to actually get around the car in front during this phase of the race. However, once the race passed halfway, the drivers visibly went up a gear and started to get serious about making forward progress.

The first sign of this was Vandoorne's determined pass on Berthon on lap 11, and that move set alarm bells ringing on the Racing Engineering pit wall which immediately instructed Rossi and King to get a move on if they didn't want to come under hostile fire. As the first man in the Belgian's sights, King was soon on the radio imploring the team to get Rossi to speed up, as he felt the American's pace was increasingly backing him into Vandoorne's clutches.

A spin off into the gravel at Stavelot for Pic on lap 13 temporarily suspended the race with a virtual safety car while the Campos car was removed. When the speed restrictions were removed, Rossi got a great jump on the rest of the field and was immediately out of DRS range of King, while Vandoorne's haste to cut the gap to the Racing Engineering cars ahead lured him into a big lock-up at the final chicane that left him with flat-spotted tyres for the remainder of the race, all that tyre-conservation hard work now having been for naught. Vandoorne was lucky not to lose third place as well at the same time, but Evans had been caught napping by the abrupt finish to the virtual safety car and had lost ground to make up before he could make his move.

The writing was on the wall, however, and Evans was soon right up to the back of the ART and on the final run through Les Combes on the last lap of the race he was able to breeze past Vandoorne to pick up that final podium position. Vandoorne just managed to hold on for the remaining minutes to cross the line in fourth ahead of Markelov, with Sirotkin edging ahead of Berthon in the final corner to claim sixth place. Lynn also managed a last-lap pass on Canamasas to pick up the final points position on offer.

Meanwhile Vandoorne's late-race woes had been enough to release the Racing Engineering duo at the front. When the chequered flag came out, Rossi had successfully claimed his second GP2 Series win - his first in almost two years since his maiden success at Abu Dhabi in November 2013. King had dropped 1.5s away from his team mate but still had a comparable margin of safety over Evans who joined them on the podium for the post-race celebrations.

Other than Pic whose exit had caused that significant virtual safety car interruption, the only cars to fail to make the finish on Sunday were those of Pierre Gasly (DAMS) and Oliver Rowland (MP Motorsport). The pair clashed and made contact early in the race, and both were subsequently forced to retire with mechanical issues.

Rossi's Sunday victory enables him to regain some of the championship ground lost on Saturday. Vandoorne's lead in the driver's title battle remains absolutely dominate with 233 points compared to Rossi's 128 points in second, while Rio Haryanto and Sergey Sirotkin are now tied for third place a further 19 points back. Alex Lynn stays in fifth place with a total of 86 points after Spa.

There are still four GP2 race weekends remaining in 2015. Next up is a visit to Monza on September 4-6, followed a month later by a second visit for the series to Sochi in Russia. The end of November sees back-to-back events at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to round off the championship and decide the titles once and for all - that is, assuming that Rossi and the rest can prevent Vandoorne and ART from having it wrapped up long before then.

See full Sunday GP2 sprint race 2 results from Spa-Francorchamps.



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