|The GP2 teams were faced with cooler conditions for today’s 26 lap Sprint Race with air and track temperatures of 18° and 24° respectively. Following his superb win in yesterday’s Feature Race Norman Nato would start from 8th on the reversed grid while Jordan King, who finished 7th, would start from the front row in second position. All of the cars would race on the prime Pirelli P Zero Orange hard compound tyres.
As the race started Jordan made a good start and was challenging pole sitter Marciello into the first corner but he had to back off a little to avoid contact with the Russian Time car and Lynn took advantage to pass the Racing Engineering driver. At the end of the opening lap Jordan was 3rd and he was fighting Lynn but all the drivers were being careful not to overuse their tyres. The young English driver was now fighting Marciello who had dropped to 2nd and on lap five he used his DRS to pass the Russian Time car at the end of the pit straight but on lap six Gasly was able to use his DRS to pass the Racing Engineering car.
By lap eight Jordan was two seconds behind Gasly and an equal gap ahead of Marciello and over the next five laps the gap to Gasly remained constant. Jordan began to fall away a little as the race entered the final ten laps and on lap 18 the gap had opened to 4.6 seconds. With four laps to go an accident caused the Safety Car to be deployed and there was not enough time left for racing to resume so Jordan crossed the finish line in 3rd position.
Norman made a slow start from the fourth row of the grid dropping down the field to 20th place, he quickly moved up to 19th and he was soon closing in on de Jong. On lap nine he passed the Dutchman and he was now chasing Ghiotto, the Racing Engineering car gradually closed the gap and on lap fifteen the gap was just 1.3 seconds. With seven laps remaining Norman was just 0.3 seconds behind Kirchhofer, who had been passed by Ghiotto, but the Safety Car period meant the young Frenchman could not gain any more positions.
A very good opening weekend in the 2016 GP2 Series for the Racing Engineering team with Norman winning the Feature Race and Jordan taking 3rd in the Sprint Race. The Spanish team will now be preparing for the second round of the 2016 GP2 series at Monaco in two weeks’ time.