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Alvaro Parente registered Ocean Racing Technology's first GP2 race victory in Belgium on Saturday after starting from pole position. The Portuguese driver won weekend's feature race as Stefano Coletti was being assisted by medics following a large accident at the high-speed Eau Rouge section of the track.
The 100th GP2 race was delayed for 15 minutes for a serious accident in the pit lane, but when the lights went out all eyes were on turn one: Parente was slightly slower to get away than fellow front row starter Nico Hülkenberg, but he had the inside line and was able to pip the German to the corner and lead the field down to Eau Rouge.
Di Grassi soon made up for his penalty after yesterday's qualifying: a strong start saw him slot past Diego Nunes for third, with Pastor Maldonado just behind the pair, but title challenger Vitaly Petrov went the opposite way and had fallen to ninth by the end of the first lap.
Parente knew his job and he carried it out to perfection, pulling out a gap to Hülkenberg on every lap as the rest of the field dropped out of the German's mirrors, with Karun Chandhok dropping backwards from sixth as the pit-stops approached and taking the field with him.
Petrov's race was over on Lap 6 as his engine gave up on him, while Chandhok came out of the pits on the same lap and tried an optimistic move on Davide Valsecchi at the end of the main straight and spun, taking Davide Rigon into the wall with him: the leaders came in over the next two laps, with Parente holding position ahead of Hülkenberg and setting about increasing the gap yet again.
On Lap 13 Luca Filippi, who had just slid inside Valsecchi at the Bus Stop for tenth, lost his car at the end of the straight and spun, leaving his countryman with no way to avoid him: the safety car was soon out to allow their safe removal from the track, forcing Parente to rebuild his lead all over again. With one lap to go Parente was easily holding on from Hülkenberg when Stefano Coletti, who was running an impressive ninth, went straight on at the bottom of Eau Rouge for a huge accident, prompting the safety car to emerge once again.
One lap later Parente led Hülkenberg across the line just ahead of di Grassi, who had been desperately holding on from Maldonado before the safety car re-emerged, as the chequered flag dropped.
Diego Nunes was fifth after a strong performance, with Roldan Rodriguez sliding past Giedo van der Garde for sixth with five laps remaining and staying there, while Kamui Kobayashi claimed the final points paying position. But all the applause in the pit lane was for Alvaro Parente as he sprayed the champagne to celebrate possibly the most popular win of the season.
Ocean Racing Technology
|Ocean Racing Technology|
|16 Jan||Hilmer confirmed as Ocean replacement|
|3 Sep '12||Ocean investigating cause of Melker crash|
|1 Sep '12||GP2 video: Heavy Eau Rouge crash for Melker|
|9 Nov '11||Ocean names Félix da Costa and Marroc for Final|
|GP2: Belgium 2009|
|31 Aug '09||10-place grid drops for Clos and di Grassi|
|30 Aug '09||Photos: Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps|
|30 Aug '09||Van der Garde scores second win of the season|
|29 Aug '09||Trident mechanic seriously injured|
|22 Jun '11||Parente joins Carlin for Valencia|
|7 Oct '10||Parente named as possible Lotus F1 reserve|
|3 Sep '10||Coloni holds on to Parente for Monza|
|24 Aug '10||Parente returns to GP2 by replacing Valerio|
|16 May||Three-day Abu Dhabi test for GP2 and GP3|
|13 May||Haryanto gets grid penalty for Monaco|
|12 May||Latest GP2 photos: Sunday in Barcelona|
|12 May||Coletti takes controlled Sprint Race win|
|More Alvaro Parente photos|