Allar Kangur recovered from a poor qualifying to take his fifth win of the season. The Estonian kept his head cool in a race of attrition to collect 25 points. Importantly, that brings him level with his teammate Adrien Simon in the championship after the Frenchman was spun around by Puccio Giodano and hit by Gabriele Garcia. Giodano took the lead at the start but had his pit box blocked by Felix Perez meaning he couldn’t pit, dropping out of the top ten and eventually retiring. His teammate Tumo Kinnumen had led a good portion of the race and had a handy four seconds advantage to Kangur with about 20 laps to go but he collided with Will Hoskins while lapping the Holmqvist and broke his rear suspension, leaving Ocelot with a double DNF. Nathaniel Powers followed Kangur home in second after starting on the supersoft tyres, leaving a three-way battle for the championship in Brazil.
Of the line it was clear which team had nailed the start. Giodano stormed past Simon with his V12 engine, and as he tried to go back down the inside at turn 1, Kinnumen swooped around the outside of him like an eagle, having already left van Snelheid for dust. Powers used the softest compound to pass Enrique Ruiz at the hairpin, moving into fifth. Jean Mattson on his hard tyres did not get a good start however and dropped behind his teammate and briefly behind the two Phoenix cars. Carson Davenport however dropped behind him before he and Elroy Wagner collided in the esses section, spinning both around and holding up the entire field. Wagner and Garcia both had to pit for new front wings, but thankfully no one sustained race ending damage.
Powers and Kangur did not waste time getting through the other front runners and by lap two the pair had climbed up to 4th and 7th, the former passing his teammate at the Petrabola around the outside while the latter overtook Nikolai Milkovich after failing to do so on the opening lap. Powers began to home in on Simon, who could make no impression on the Ocelots, with Kinnumen unable to pass his teammate despite faster tyres. Not for the first time this year Kangur, van Snelheid and Ruiz locked horns in a duel, which cost the DS Mathershaw driver time to the top four. Meanwhile three drivers where on the move at the back of the field, Davenport, Felix Beyer and Hoskins after the Portuguese spun and the Holmqvist cars were excluded from qualifying. One driver who had a great start was Finn Schnyder, the AMR passing Jules Simon for 15th on lap 5.
A lap later, Kinnumen finally made a move, getting a good tow off Giodano on the main straight and overtaking him before the first corner came for first. The Italian was struggling for grip and began to hold up Simon and Powers. Kangur had also passed Ruiz but he wasn’t on Klaas van Snelheid’s tail as the Dutchman had pulled away slightly. However, within a few laps he caught back up to the Downton and breezed past him. With Giodano showing no signs of speeding up Kangur was right back in it. He quickly bridged the gap to the leading four, while on lap 12, Powers, who couldn’t find a way past Simon, pitted for the first time, putting him on a provisional 5 stop race. He re-joined in 11th behind Mattson. He quickly passed the Ingram however and soon did likewise to Alvarez who was being held up by James Vasquez. A few laps later he also dispatched the Colombian while Johan Halvosen caught up to Mattson.
On lap 17 both Kinnumen and Kangur pitted for new soft tyres, leaving the pair on a provisional 3 stopper (drivers do not pit on the last lap as seen in Belgium). Halvosen also came in that lap and over the next few laps the other soft runners pitted. Simon came in on lap 18 and crucially came out behind his teammate, with Kinnumen well ahead of both of them. Things got worse for the championship leader as Vasquez and him collided while he tried to pass the Ingram. Simon spun and lost a huge amount of time to his rivals. Kinnumen passed Milkovich but was given the call from the garage to speed up as Powers was close behind him. Powers got stuck behind Ruiz though and Kinnumen pulled out a bit of a gap. Kangur had just caught up to Powers when the Downton dived into the pitlane on lap 23 for his second stop, only completing 11 laps on his second stint. He re-joined in ninth, 20 seconds behind Kinnumen.
It took Kangur until lap 25 to pass van Snelheid, by which time Kinnumen was four seconds up the road. The Finn had caught his teammate who had been leading, as Giodano had no done his first stop yet. Meanwhile Felix Perez, the home hero, became the first retirement after being hit by Davenport at the Petrabola. The contact broke his rear wing and pitched him into a spin that ultimately put him in the barrier, but he was able to continue for a lap before parking it in the pits. This provided crucial as he parked his car in Giodano’s pit box and prevented the Italian from pitting, wreaking his race. A few laps later Kinnumen flew past Giodano at turn 1 to take the lead.
On lap 29 van Snelheid, Ruiz and Milkovich made a dive into the pit-lane for new tyres. They now were on two stoppers, as where the rest of the medium-shod runners. Kangur also caught up to Giodano. He took longer then Kinnumen did to pass him but eventually did. Meanwhile for the second time in the race Simon and Powers ran nose to tail, the Frenchman up to fourth after recovering from his early spin. The two caught up to Giodano, and Powers took an opportunity to pass both drivers around the outside at the final corner when Simon was held up by the Ocelot. Simon couldn’t find a way past and had to wait for another lap before trying to pass Giodano at the Petrabola again. It proved to be a grave error which may have cost him the title.
As the Mathershaw car went up the inside of Giodano, it briefly got ahead mid-corner when Giodano managed to get better traction on the outside. As the Italian accelerated, he closed the door on Simon and hit him, spinning the 2016 champion around. Just as he was about to recover, Garcia came storming in and drove straight into Simon, breaking his rear axle and leaving him out of the race while the Brazilian continued. This was a massive blow for Simon but presented a great opportunity to Kangur and Powers to close the gap to him with a just a race to go. The Estonian pitted before the crash happened, in an attempt to undercut Kinnumen. Powers also pitted, re-joining just ahead of his teammate.
Half way around his out-lap, Kangur passed Giodano. Kinnumen pitted at the end of the lap and came out ahead of Kangur. The Italian’s shredded tyres were really hurting other drivers, as Powers, who spent about a sector behind, lost three second immediately to Kinnumen. Meanwhile in the midfield, the battle for 10th in the constructors was back on. Halvosen had a quiet but efficient drive and after Mattson made his sole stop on hards, he was up to 8th, which was good enough to put North Star into 7th in the standings despite Alvarez being just behind him. However, Alvarez seemed faster and was looking for a way past, while Davenport had smelled a chance of points in 12th and started to up his pace. At the sharp end of the grid, Kangur had lost a lot of time behind Zozulya and had Powers bearing on his neck. The Briton managed to pass him on lap 45 at turn 1 but pitted at the end of the lap for the fourth time, re-joining behind Ruiz.
By lap 49 however, Powers was already back up to 3rd after passing Ruiz and van Snelheid. Kangur made his last stop on lap 51 coming out just behind Powers. Kinnumen pitted straight after and kept ahead of his two rivals. After a few laps Zozulya spun at the hairpin. As he reversed, he went straight into the barrier and managed to vault his car over the fence, not unlike James Hardings' hotter crash back in 2013. Thankfully he was reported to be unhurt. Not long after, Mattson became the fourth retirement, after his brakes failed in the middle part of the track. He slowed down and came to a stop on the side of the track. Then came another race defining incident – as Kinnumen tried to put a lap on Hoskins but they touched lightly, which broke their rear suspension and put both out of the race. The two nearly came to blows after getting out of their cars but the marshals quickly escorted then away.
That promoted Powers into the lead, but he had two more stops left though and Kangur in second was running to the end. Van Snelheid, Ruiz and Milkovich followed, with Vasquez quite a margin behind. Halvosen was promoted to 7th when Alvarez made his final stop and came out in 10rh behind Davenport but just 5 seconds away from Halvosen. Amazingly however, Schnyder found himself in 10th place, albeit with one stop to go. Powers pitted on lap 56 and he came out in 3rd, after nearly pushing Ruiz off the track when he re-joined. Medium shod cars began to make their final pit stops with van Snelheid and the Franklins holding position. After a few more laps Giodano retired from the race capping off a miserable day after going into the first corner 1st and 2nd. Felix Beyer pitted a few laps from the end for new rubber, while Viktor Ostberg retired after an engine failure, moving Schnyder into 11th.
Up front Powers made another pit stop but he states ahead of his teammate. There were no dramas for Kangur and he crossed the line to take his sixth win of the season. Powers followed him home in second while van Snelheid was third. Ruiz and Milkovich were 4th and 5th for Franklin while Vasquez was sixth. Halvosen in seventh brought North Star up to eight in the championship but 8th and 9th from Alvarez and Davenport protected seventh for Phoenix. Wagner took tenth but Schnyder's 11th put AMR ahead of Meteor. This means that Kangur is now level with Simon for points, with Power just 9 points behind, setting up for a trolling finale in Brazil, while Mathershaw confirmed their second constructors title with a impermeable gap to Downton.
Watch the full race below: