Zander Brynildsen drove expertly in the Sprint Race at Jerez after obtaining reverse pole, winning comfortably ahead of a fast-finishing Rodolfo de la Fuente and Sergio Alvarez. The race was temporarily stopped though after a massive accident at Turn 1 on the opening lap, and thankfully no drivers were injured.
Brynildsen didn't get the perfect start but that was his only blemish in the race. He managed to hold onto the lead from Luuk van der Straten at Turn 1, who in turn was trying to defend the fast starting Andrey Kerzhakov. He successfully defended, but it caused a chain reaction as Niklaus Holzberg who was next in line had no where to go, and climbed over the engine cover of Kerzhakov, putting both drivers out of the race on the spot.
To make matters worse, through came Ellenor Haugland, completely blind-sighted as drivers were evading the crash in front of her. She clipped the back of Holzberg, popping off her left-front wheel, and putting her out of the race as well. The race was subsequently stopped with all drivers to enter pitlane in their running order as at the end of Sector 1. That order was Brynildsen, van der Straten, Johnson, Toivonen, and Alvarez in the Top 5. After accidents in yesterday's race, Perez and Zozulya were starting 23rd and 24th respectively, and had both made up 6 positions each before the red flag was deployed.
Thankfully no laps were lost after the red flag, however Juan Alejandro lost out after the restart with a gearbox issue at Turn 4. The yellow flags didn't hault the likes of Perez and Zozulya who continued to slice their way through the field, up to 15th and 16th.
James Vasquez and Viktor Ostberg looked to mimic them as they went either side of Alexander McLaughlin exitting Turn 4. Vasquez, qualifying behind Ostberg after winning the feature race managed to overtake both he and the Kiwi going into Turn 5 to take 9th position. At the same corner on the next lap, Elnur Aliyev showed his pace wasn't just a one-off yesterday, pulling a fantastic overtake on Hunter Ryan on the brakes to take 7th from the Australian.
That became 6th when Otso Toivonen up ahead began slowing down, as he had fire coming out from the rear of his car. He managed to get the car to the pit entry where his chances of another strong finish were doused like the fire. Due to the failure it was believed there could be oil in sector 3, and the driver to find out the hard way was Luuk van der Straten, going Rally-Cross style into the final corner. Although he saved it, he lost 2 positions to Brittany Johnson and Sergio Alvarez and slotted into 4th position. That left Zander Brynildsen with a 6 second lead with the rest of the field looking like this:
It only took another lap however for van der Straten to find the oil again, this time he actually half spun, losing out to de la Fuente. Elnur Aliyev looked set to pass as well but he also slipped up on the oil, losing out to Ryan and Vasquez, failing to pass van der Stratten in the process. The oil, intersecting the racing line where Toivonen entered the pits was causing havoc to many drivers.
Brittany Johnson was the next driver to fall victim as she veered toward the pit lane due to the oil! Somehow she saved it but suffered a half spin in doing so, and she dropped to 4th, which became 6th as Vasquez and Ryan closed in. Brittany's position disadvantaged Hunter Ryan exiting the final corner, allowing Vasquez to fly past the pair of them!
Sergio Alvarez, now in second was the next person to trip up on the oil, allowing Rodolfo de la Fuente to suddenly take himself from 10th on the grid to 2nd. The crowd with him all the time as he pulled away from Alvarez. He and Brynildsen had been cutting over toward the middle of the track where there was minimal oil on the circuit, allowing them to carry on without the risk of spinning.
As the other drivers began to pick up on where to place their cars, Felix Perez and Oleksandr Zozulya were still charging through the field together, and with 2 laps to go were running in the points, 11th and 12th respectively.
Aleksandr Hadzic became the last driver to fall victim to the oil on his penultimate lap. It allowed Brynildsen to lap him as he fell to last, and to also take a dominant victory in the Sprint race at Jerez. Rodolfo de la Fuente and James Vasquez (who set the fastest lap in both races) both charged through the field late to finish 2nd and 4th respectively, as Sergio Alvarez completed the podium behind between them. Hunter Ryan came home 5th, but further back, drivers like Johnson, van der Straten, Aliyev can only ask themselves 'What if?' as they trundled home in 6th, 7th and 8th due to their encounters with the oil just before the final corner. Full results below:
That brought to an end a chaotic Spanish leg of the FV2 series. The series travels soon to a circuit soon to be revealed. Championship standings as always are on the FV2 wiki page here: http://f1fanatic.shoutwiki.com/wiki/2017_FV2_Series_season