Luca Ghiotto has taken victory in the sprint race at Monza in a storming drive as he looked to make up for the loss of his feature race victory yesterday.
In a stark contrast to yesterday’s feature race deluge, glorious sunshine beat down on the circuit and provided the fans with some straight-out battles and thrilling racing.
Following a number of penalties from Saturday, Gustav Malja led the field away from pole with Louis Deletraz alongside his former team-mate on the front row. Ghiotto started from fifth, while championship contenders Charles Leclerc and Oliver Rowland were 17th and 19th, respectively.
Off the start, Sean Gelael got the best start of anyone and jumped from fourth to the lead, while Deletraz cut across the chicane and duly had to concede top spot to the Indonesian.
It didn’t take long for the wheel-banging to begin, as the end of lap one saw Sergio Sette Camara and Nobuharu Matsushita draw alongside each other out of the Parabolica, resulting in the latter running down the escape road at turn one.
With the DRS enabled, it didn’t take long for Deletraz to launch an attack for the lead on Gelael, the Swiss driver getting the job done into the Rettifilo chicane. Gelael then came under attack from Sette Camara, eventually conceding the position on lap six.
The battle continued as Gelael took back second at the Variante della Roggia, but the loss of momentum saw Sette Camara and Ghiotto leave Gelael standing into the first Lesmo corner. Not long after, a mistake from Sette Camara allowed Ghiotto through into second.
The Italian then set off after race leader Deletraz, fired up by the news of his lost win yesterday, and threw his car down the inside of the first Lesmo as Deletraz lost momentum through the Variante della Roggia.
With Sette Camara following Ghiotto through the previous laps, the Brazilian slipstreamed past Deletraz and took second position, looking to add to his sprint race victory last time out in Spa.
Further down the field, the midfield battle was escalating quickly as a train of cars from seventh down to 16th created some immense close-quarters racing, with Leclerc, Nicholas Latifi, Artem Markelov and Alexander Albon swapping positions almost every corner as they ducked and dived down the straights under the influence of DRS.
Jordan King soon joined in on the action, but an attempted move around the outside of Markelov resulted in the duo trading wheel rubber, with the Englishman being punted into the gravel but able to continue following a brief Rallycross experience.
Up front, Fuoco was looking for a second podium of the weekend as he closed down Deletraz for third, setting up a move at the Parabolica on lap 19 before sweeping around the outside at the Rettifilo chicane on lap 20.
At the end of the 21st and final lap, Ghiotto crossed the line to take his second on-track victory of the weekend, making it a double Italian triumph following Fuoco’s win yesterday. His countryman came home in third for a double podium, split by the ever-improving Sette Camara as he took his second podium in as many sprint races.
Deletraz could do nothing to take third back from Fuoco and settled for fourth ahead of Rapax team-mate Roberto Merhi. Following his brief stint in the lead, Gelael brought his Arden across the line in sixth, while Matsushita, Albon, Leclerc and Norman Nato prevailed in their epic midfield battle to round out the top-10.
The championship chase continues into Jerez, following a double no-score for title rivals Leclerc and Rowland.