RACING: Rossi wins GP2 race in Sochi |

RACING: Rossi wins GP2 race in Sochi

Alexander Rossi
Associated Press | AP

Alexander Rossi returned to GP2 Series in style this weekend, earning his third win of the season with Racing Engineering.

A dramatic and eventful feature race saw the Nevada City native take first place at the Olympic Park Grand Prix circuit in Sochi, Russia, a crucial win ahead of his closest rival in the driver ranking battle, Stoffel Vandoorne, to keep the 2015 season title hopes open.

“Today has been a very good day,” Rossi said after the win. “We knew we had the pace to do well here, and that qualifying wasn’t reflective of what we knew we were capable of. I got a good start and was able to pass Stoffel quickly, and knew what I had to do from there. It’s fantastic to keep the momentum of our wins from Spa and Monza, and winning here in Sochi is a great result for the team.”

Rossi lined up in third position ahead of Saturday’s race at the Sochi Autodrom, after a tricky wet qualifying session saw him blocked by traffic on his final, and quickest, lap. Making a superb start off the grid in Saturday’s feature race, Rossi was able to pass Vandoorne and immediately move up to second, challenging for the lead. However an incident further down the field caused the race to be red flagged, and after a 35-minute delay, was resumed behind the safety car. Rossi maintained his second position after the restart behind Alex Lynn. As Lynn made his mandatory pitstop, Rossi took first and began setting the fastest laps of the race with a time of 1:47.657s, looking to open the gap to his closest rival.

On lap eight, Rossi made his mandatory pitstop and returned to the track just fractions away from Lynn. However a mistake by the Briton allowed Rossi to retake the lead with just three laps to go, and he began to pull away from Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne. The Racing Engineering driver initially led the DAMS car by 0.7 seconds, however in the closing stages of the race Rossi was able to increase the gap to Gasly and win by 3.1 seconds.

Rossi remains in second place in the GP2 driver rankings. He now returns to the Manor Marussia F1 Team for the US Grand Prix, where he will look to continue his positive form for his home race in Austin, Texas.

“I’m realistic in that there’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m focused and hope to keep the momentum of our recent wins through to the end of the season,” Rossi said. “I’d like to thank Racing Engineering again for giving me an incredible car, and also thank Manor Marussia F1 Team for all of their support in allowing me to continue my GP2 Series season. I’m incredibly proud to be able to deliver what we all know we’re capable of. This is a special win for me, and it’s thanks to all the support and belief from everyone around me, both in Formula 1 and GP2 Series.”

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