GP2 Spa-Francorchamps sprint: Chandhok wins for Durango

Karun Chandhok, GP2, Spa-Francorchamps, 2007 | Alastair Stately / GP2 Media ServiceKarun Chandhok scored his first GP2 win in the sprint race after an excellent pass on Andy Soucek.

But the dramatic development in the championship saw Timo Glock fail to even start the race after his was hit by Ricardo Risatti’s car on the way to the dummy grid.

With rival Lucas di Grassi finishing on the podium the championship will be decided at the final double-header round at Valencia.

The partially reversed grid from the first race put Ho Pin Tung on pole position with Chandhok alongside, then Soucek and Mike Conway on the second row.

At the start Conway went backwards and Tung out-braked himself at the first turn. That allowed Soucek through into the lead ahead of Chandhok, then Javier Villa up from fifth, and di Grassi.

On the approach to Les Combes Villa was caught by di Grassi and the Brazilian went through into third, Tung following him into fourth.

Further back, Adrian Zaugg was tapped into a spin at the first corner by Markus Niemela.

Luca Filippi had taken sixth while team mate Conway recovered from his poor start to take Vitaly Petrov for seventh on the second lap.

Sebastien Buemi was running tenth when his engine began belching smoke on the approach to Les Combes on lap four. The smoke got thicker around the course of the lap and Buemi eventually rolled into the pits and retirement. Villa was into the pits on the next lap to serve a drive through penalty that dropped him out of fifth.

Soucek had eked out a slight advantage in the early laps but by half race distance Chandhok had caught him. They and the chasing pack of di Grassi, Tung, Filippi and Conway were covered by under 4.5s.

Chandhok applied pressure for lap after lap, finally darting around the outside of Soucek on their 13th passage through Les Combes.

But if Chandhok could find a way past Soucek, championship protagonist di Grassi could not. In fact he seemed to be having more trouble keeping Tung at bay.

Adam Carroll meanwhile was moving up from his lowly starting position of 21st. He passed Petrov around the outside at Rivage on lap eight, and six laps later took seventh from Bruno Senna.

Conway finally got the better of Filippi on lap 15, tucking into his team mate’s slipstream along Kemmel and taking fifth when Filippi out-braked himself at Les Combes.

Carroll then took the final point for six from Filippi at the same corner the next time round.

Di Grassi only needed to pass Soucek to tie with Glock in the championship standings going into the final round. But the Brazilian stayed third until the end, defending from Tung at the new bus stop chicane on the final lap.

Chandhok gave Durango their first win since Clivio Piccione at the Nurburgring in 2005. Second place for Soucek was DPR’s first points of the season.

Di Grassi, third, will go into the final rounds at Valencia one point behind Glock.

Fourth place for Tung gives BCN their first points at the year – both BCN and Durango scoring their first points of 2007 just as their position in the championship is believed to be under threat for 2008.

British drivers Conway and Carroll were fifth, Conway no doubt ruing the poor start that kept him from improving on yesterday’s fifth place.

Filippi dropped out of the points, finishing seventh ahead of Senna, Kazuki Nakajima and Roldan Rodriguez.

Photo: Alastair Stately / GP2 Media Service

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