The first GP2 race of the series’ inaugural visit to the World Endurance Championship paddock in Bahrain got underway on Friday afternoon with Pierre Gasly on pole, after seizing it last minute from Stoffel Vandoorne on Thursday with  a time of 1m39.572s. Revenge was sweet for Vandoorne however, after he got past the Red Bull-backed Frenchman and controlled the rest of the race from lights to flag – giving the Belgian his sixth victory of the season. His team, ART, also secured the constructors crown from the reigning DAMS, who are also their closest competitors.

By the third lap Vandoorne had gained a lead of two seconds over Gasly, followed closely by Rafaele Marciello in third with Norman Nato and Alex Lynn in fourth and fifth respectively. As the race progressed, there was no luck for Gasly who slipped back down the order to fifth and had to attempt to regain positions swiftly if there was to be any chance of him taking the win that had looked within reach with his pole.

As the pit stops began a well-executed undercut from Mitch Evans jumped him ahead of Marciello, a move which ultimately resulted in the Kiwi standing on the podium. Race leader Vandoorne eventually pitted on lap 22, exiting behind Nathanaël Berthon who was on a different strategy. While the Lazarus driver struggled against his tyre wear, Evans and Rossi battled it out for position and a chance to have a go for Vandoorne. Despite a great recovery drive so far for Rossi who’d had a slow start, his race was to go from bad to worse when him and the Russian Time driver made contact, provoking an impromptu pit stop at Racing Engineering to replace their driver’s front wing.


Matsushita, having stayed out of trouble, was boosted up into the podium positions, giving him the opportunity to fight Evans for the runners-up step on the podium. With Vandoorne a country mile ahead, Marciello tied up with Sirotkin and Gasly down in P6 following a slow pit stop, it was a fight until the flag – a fight which Matsushita claimed victory in thanks to a mistake from Evans.
With Vandoorne victorious for the 6th time this year, and Matsushita rocketing to 2nd, ART claimed the team championship over fellow French marque and reigning team champions DAMS. Already 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne extends his points tally ahead of his rivals, further extending his dominance in the series this year.