Calado claims Sprint Race victory at Spa
25 August 2013 – James Calado secured victory in the GP2 Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, the Briton successfully fending off a race-long charge from Racing Engineering rival Julián Leal to claim his first win of the 2013 season.
Starting from pole, Calado made a smooth getaway to lead into La Source, with Leal diving down the inside of Stéphane Richelmi for second. Championship leader Stefano Coletti ended the first lap in fifth after rising from his 13th place grid slot.
After pulling out a gap early on, Calado began to fall back into Leal’s clutches in the middle phase as he radioed in with car balance issues. Further back, Coletti’s progress halted as he suffered increased tyre wear on his Option rubber. Eventually reaching the 'cliff', the Rapax driver began to drop like stone, with key title rival Felipe Nasr moving past as the race entered its final stages.
The final laps saw Leal breathing down Calado’s neck, with the Hilmer Motorsport machine of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs maintaining a watching vigil in third. Despite pressuring, Leal couldn’t quite get close enough to the back of the ART car to execute an overtaking attempt, leaving Calado to take a well-deserved lights-to-flag win.
Quaife-Hobbs completed the podium, with Richelmi, Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer rounding out the top six. Johnny Cecotto Jr. was seventh, while Tom Dillmann claimed the final championship point. Nasr, penalised after the Feature Race, negotiated his way up to ninth from the back of the grid, just failing to break into the points after an unsuccessful last gasp attempt to move past Dillmann at the Bus Stop chicane.
In the championship battle, Leimer has closed in on the non-scoring duo of Nasr and Coletti, and is now seven points behind the leader in the standings. Sam Bird’s Feature Race win leaves him 14 points off top spot with six rounds remaining.
The GP2 field will be back in action at Monza on the weekend of September 6-8