Paddock postcard from Spa-Francorchamps 30 Aug 2009
Spa brought out the usual batch of racer visitors to the Formula One paddock, including former FIA official Roland Bruynseraede, eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, seven-time winner Jacky Ickx, former Formula One drivers Philippe Alliot and Philippe Streiff, and former Bridgestone tyre guru Kees van der Grint.
In Formula BMW, DAMS Jim Pla continued where he left off in Valencia by winning a close race in which the top three were never separated by more than a few fractions of a second. He was followed across the finish line by Euronationals Felipe Nasr and Josef Kaufmann Racings Robin Frijns. Nasr had started from pole, but spoiled his chances of a win as the lights went out with excessive wheel spin.
Pla, meanwhile, overtook Mucke Motorsports Michael Christensen in a brave move at Eau Rouge as they went through side-by-side and brushed wheels. Nasr had a grandstand seat view of the action and was able to take advantage too when the Dane had to back off momentarily. Nasr still leads the drivers championship, but now Frijns has moved into second with Christensen third.
A fraught GP2 race, the 100th in the series history, saw Alvaro Parente score the maiden victory for Ocean Racing Technology after leading from lights to flag despite a safety-car period that enabled series leader Nico Hulkenberg (ART Grand Prix) and Lucas di Grassi (Fat Burner Racing) to close in.
The race was delayed for 15 minutes after a serious accident in the pit lane involving Trident team member Vasco Rossi, who suffered head injuries when Ricardo Teixeira ran over a wheel gun and its cable while the wheels of his Dallara were spinning, which resulted in overhead equipment being dragged down and striking Rossi.
Subsequently there were race accidents involving Karun Chandhok, Davide Valsecchi and Davide Rigon, and then Luca Filippi and Valsecchi. Towards the end rookie Stefano Coletti, running ninth, crashed heavily after going straight on the entry to Eau Rouge, prompting another safety car intervention. Title challenger Vitaly Petrov was also out of luck, after suffering engine failure, enabling Hulkenberg to move even further ahead.
During Sunday mornings sprint race, however, Parente couldnt match his victory, with his engine succumbing to the demands of the track and causing him to retire. Instead the glory fell to Giedo van der Garde, who took his second win of the year after capitalizing on a slow start from pole-sitter Edoardo Mortara.
Van der Garde eventually crossed the line over three seconds clear of Piquets Roldan Rodriguez, while the final podium place was taken by iSports Diego Nunes. There were accidents aplenty too with Dani Clos, Hulkenberg, DAmbrosio and Filippi crashing out at the start, Pastor Maldonado hitting a wall at Les Combes, and Di Grassi and Mortara making contact at the Bus Stop.