Dutch team MP Motorsport secured its first ever GP2 Series victory during round 20 at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia on Sunday, 12th October, after a sensational lights-to-flag drive from Lotus F1 Team reserve Marco Sorensen – the result also marking the Dane’s maiden triumph in GP2.
Beginning the second of the weekend’s two races from the ‘reverse grid’ pole position after finishing in eighth place in round 19 on Saturday, 11th October, Sorensen produced a superb performance to chalk-up a memorable victory and his ninth points scoring result from 12 races contested.
Opening up a lead of 0.7 seconds on lap one, the Danish driver increased his cushion to 1.3 seconds over the first few laps and although his advantage reduced by mid-distance the MP Motorsport racer pulled almost two seconds clear by lap 13.
Coming under pressure from Stoffel Vandoorne during the closing stages, Sorensen wasn’t ruffled and then the Safety Car was deployed on lap 17 following an accident for Raffaele Marciello. Racing resumed with two laps remaining and Sorensen went on to take the chequered flag and the victory by 1.3 seconds.
“I hope this win will not be the only one we get this year, I hope we can get one more in Abu Dhabi”, said the Danish racer, “The only thing I focused on at the beginning was to get a good start, and I had a good getaway. The next thing was to manage the tyres, I didn’t really know what to expect – I still had a pretty good pace at the end of the race.”
During Saturday’s ‘feature race’, Sorensen delivered an excellent drive from 15th on the grid to finish inside the top 10 in ninth place, within just 0.1 seconds of Sergio Canamasas and the ‘reverse’ pole for Sunday’s event. Post-race, though, Julian Leal was penalised for earlier contact with Sorensen and so the MP Motorsport driver was elevated into eighth position.
Team-mate Daniël De Jong made very impressive progress in race one of the weekend – the first ever GP2 Series contest on Russian soil – as he sliced his way through the order from 25th position at the start into the top 15. He was later credited with 14th position due to a 20 second time penalty for Stephane Richelmi.
Unfortunately elbowed back to 17th position on lap one of Sunday’s race, De Jong wasn’t able to try and make the most of his seventh row starting slot. Despite slipping back to 22nd position at one stage, the Dutch youngster worked his way back into the top 20 prior to the Safety Car. He then moved up into 19th position after the re-start and ended the race just 0.6 seconds behind Richelmi.
Reflecting on a historic weekend for MP Motorsport, team principal Sander Dorsman said: “This is an amazing result for everyone at MP Motorsport, all of the guys have been working so hard to get us back on the podium, to do that with a win from Marco is incredible and shows the pace we have when everything goes to plan.
“We have to say thank you to many people – to Marco and the Lotus F1 Team, to Daniël, of course, and to all of the sponsors and partners in this project. We’re still quite a new team to GP2 but we knew this result would come. All of our engineers and mechanics have done a fantastic job.”
Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will host the finale of the GP2 Series season on 22nd/23rd November.