Virtuosi Racing enjoyed a successful weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, collecting a third win of the season and taking their 2022 FIA Formula 2 podium tally to six.
Following Friday’s Practice and Qualifying sessions, Virtuosi duo Jack Doohan and Marino Sato lined up in P7 and P17, respectively, for Saturday’s reverse-grid Sprint Race.
A solid start saw the Australian leap from seventh to fifth at lights out, before a brave three-wide battle had him up to fourth by the end of the opening lap.
Virtuosi were one of a number of teams to risk a pit-stop behind the lap 11 Safety Car, with Sato diving in from P18 on track. The decision to switch to softs proved to be a good one as the Japanese racer finished in P12, making up more places than any other driver to have taken the gamble.
A calculated and confident move on Richard Verschoor elevated Doohan into the podium positions, before a late overtake on Ralph Boschung gained him P2 at the chequered flag - his fifth podium of 2022.
After the race, Doohan told Formula 2: “We're making progress. I'm happy to be back on the podium, it's only a Sprint Race but I'm really happy with the Virtuosi boys and the race car. We've now evolved to make sure I'm comfortable and can manage the race well… I'm loving it and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”
Doohan’s confidence was evident as he lined up in his qualifying position of P4 on the Spa-Francorchamps grid, before delivering a second incredible start of the weekend to put himself straight into P2.
He hung close to the race leader and enjoyed a clean pit-stop, with the Norfolk-based outfit utilising the undercut. After a clean out lap, Doohan assumed the net-lead of the race when Felipe Drugovich pitted. Picking his way through the alternate strategy traffic to P1, Doohan’s first Feature Race victory was sealed by a comfortable margin.
A jubilant Doohan told his Virtuosi team that the victory was “just the beginning” before, in winning Aussie fashion, serving up a shoey to Virtuosi engineer, Colin Sommerville, who joined him on the podium!
Discussing the team’s strategy call post-race, Doohan said: “I knew that we had good pace… the out lap was quite ok and when they said we might have the chance for the undercut I was stoked. Coming out of Turn 1 and seeing that we’d done it I was really happy for the boys.”
“I’m stoked! Finally my first Feature Race win and for it to all come together like that this weekend, obviously not perfect, but P2 in the Sprint from P7 and P1 today from P4 is the most I could’ve asked for. I’m really happy. Now just eyes forward on the next two rounds and the remainder of the season.”
It’s a quick turnaround for Virtuosi’s F2 squad who immediately turn their attention to the second round of the triple-header. Jack Doohan and Marino Sato will be back on track at Zandvoort on Friday 2 September for Free Practice at 10:05 local time (09:05 BST) before taking on the Dutch qualifying session at 15:00 (14:00 BST). Lights out for Formula 2’s Saturday Sprint will be at 17:00 (16:00 BST), before Sunday’s main event kicks off at 10:20 (09:20 BST).