Mitch Evans has scored his first GP2 Series victory of the season following a dramatic final lap pass on Arthur Pic in the sprint race at Monza.
He started his weekend at the 5.793 Monza circuit with a strong qualifying performance, but had to fight from the rear of the grid in the feature race due to a breach of technical regulations. He finished third in that race then capped his successful weekend with a hard-fought win in yesterday’s sprint race. Evans, 21, won the GP3 series at Monza in 2012. He won the Toyota Racing Series in 2010 and 2011.
Starting sixth in yesterday’s 121 km sprint race, Evans had to first fight his way past fellow Kiwi (and fellow Toyota Racing Series graduate) Richie Stanaway and defend against a strong challenge from championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Kiwi pursued polesitter Arthur Pic for much of the race.
The top three – Pic, Evans and Vandoorne - pulled away from the chasing pack but the gap between Pic and Evans remained constant until the penultimate lap.
As the race entered the final lap Evans made a daring lunge down the inside of Pic at the first chicane and held a dramatic drift sideways on the exit to hold the lead to the chequered flag.
It is the third GP2 victory for Evans in his career and comes just 24 hours after producing a stunning drive from the rear of the grid to finish third in Saturday’s feature race. The New Zealander was forced to start from the back of the grid after being excluded from a second place start slot for a tyre pressure infringement.
The win elevates Evans to fifth in the series, while two podium finishes for Vandoorne extends his series points lead to 108. The 2015 GP2 Series continues at Russia’s Sochi Autodrom from October 10-11 and there are three rounds remaining.
Race 1 (feature) - 30 laps, 173 km
1 Alexander Rossi
2 Stoffel Vandoorne
3 Mitch Evans
4 Richie Stanaway
5 Artem Markelov
Race 2 (sprint) - 21 Laps, 121 km
1 Mitch Evans
2 Arthur Pic
3 Stoffel Vandoorne
4 Richie Stanaway
5 Sergey Sirotkin
Points after 16 of 22 races
1 Stoffel Vandoorne 261
2 Alexander Rossi 153
3 Sergey Sirotkin 115
4 Rio Haryanto 109
5 Mitch Evans 89