The 2016 VGT Series is at the Zolder Circuit for the second round of the VGT championship. After a hard-fought first round in Austria, this is how the grid lined up for round 2:
From the start, Ledesma in the Renault made a poor start, eventually dropping to fourth position. Meanwhile, team-mate Alaniz had a far better getaway, and the Koenigsegg pair of Lostovolos and Zrigovic plummeted from their good grid spots. On lap 5, Parsons overtook Lesic to take the lead of the race, then set the fastest lap on lap 6. After 10 minutes, the order was as follows:
With the battle at the front so close, it was no surprise when on lap 9 Lesic made a move on Parsons to take back the lead, pushing the McLaren out wide and allowing Alaniz to slide through as well. Towards the back, Kray and O'Riley were battling hard, with O'Riley getting the best of the New Zealander after 20 minutes:
Lostovolos and Petit were first to pit on lap 17, handing over to Zrigovic and Tetrault, though the Lapierre Junior Team car was almost a full lap behind. A lap later it was the first of the leaders to pit, with Parsons handing over to Maxwell. A relatively slow pitstop for the McLaren team meant that on lap 20, both KGP cars leapfrogged Maxwell, with van Slooten a full 7 seconds ahead and in 6th overall, best of the runners to have pitted. At the halfway stage, with 6 of the 14 runners yet to pit:
Lap 21 saw the two Lapierre Renaults of Alaniz and Ledesma pit, but van Slooten remained ahead due to their excellent stop and a good outlap from the Dutchman, while the 0 car now in the hands of Abott fell down behind Maxwell and Agostino. Lap 22 saw Kray, Wilson and Hamm pit, while the last to pit was Svensson, only seven seconds before the pit window closed. However, the tactic didn't seem to work - from ninth before the pit window, the 10 car fell to twelfth. As of lap 27, van Slooten held nearly a five second lead ahead of Christian Fischoff, who was only just ahead of Agostino, Maxwell and Abott.
On that lap, Regi Abott set a new fastest lap, beating Parsons' lap 6 benchmark by a tenth of a second, and a lap later he overtook Maxwell into the second corner with a tough move. Fazio's tough start to the season continued when his engine expired on lap 27, the number 2 car in the hand of Fischoff was noticeably slower than when Alaniz was at the wheel, and over the next few laps the Austrian dropped from second to fifth. When Agostino moved into second position, the Ferrari driver set about catching van Slooten, and cut the gap to only 3.5 seconds, though time was starting to run out, and Agostino's tyres were a lap older. The Italian was also pulling Abott and Maxwell along - on lap 32, the two were alongside each other across the timing line:
Two laps later, Agostino's charge ended in despair when his front left suspension collapsed, forcing him to retire. Meanwhile, Lucas Tetrault spun at the first corner and beached his car in the gravel trap, forcing the deployment of a Full Course Caution. This allowed van Slooten to regroup, slightly, but a lap later racing was underway, meaning Abott and Maxwell could attack again. The Belgian was extremely quick after the green flag, and with one lap to go was only 7 tenths of a second behind. However, an incredible defensive effort from van Slooten meant he held his position, taking victory by just 0.679 seconds.
This result means Parsons and Maxwell retain the lead of the championship, but only courtesy of winning the first race of the season as they are level on points with Phipps and van Slooten. The full championship standings are below:
Join us next time on the 2nd of July for the Race of the Czech Republic from Brno!