Jack Doohan has conceded to defying the predictions of his Virtuosi team after manifesting a win as he lay in bed the night before the Belgian F2 feature race.
The odds were against Doohan as he started from 11th on the grid for the event at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit after rain had wreaked havoc on Friday's qualifying session and effectively left him out of position.
But after scoring a fifth in Saturday's sprint, the 20-year-old Doohan conjured a superb drive in the feature, aided by a degree of good fortune courtesy of a well-timed safety car from which he emerged second behind leader Théo Pourchaire.
Running on soft tyres compared to the medium compound for Pourchaire, Doohan made the advantage count on the second lap after the restart by passing the Frenchman on the run down to the Kemmel Straight.
In adding the fastest lap, and with back-to-back feature wins after his triumph last weekend in Hungary, Doohan is now firmly in title contention, lying 38 points behind Pourchaire with three rounds remaining.
“To be honest, I'm super happy,” said Doohan. “I had a great weekend last weekend at the Hungaroring, I started the weekend off strong here as well, and I felt super confident with the car.
“I was a little bit unlucky in qualifying, just being at the back of pit lane. I wasn't able to set a lap before getting the rain in sector two.
“In the end, it put us out of the top 10, which wasn't ideal, but I drove my heart out (in the sprint) to get fifth, and I was super lucky (in the feature), 100 percent.
“But it owed me, whatever that is up there, it owed me some luck and I took it with open arms. Regardless, we had really strong pace, and I'm happy we're able to show that.”
It is Doohan's fourth victory at Spa after winning both the sprint and feature in F3 in 2021, and the F2 feature a year ago.
“To get the feature again, you could say I like this place a little bit,” said Doohan with a smile.
“To be honest, on Friday afternoon (due to the weather), I didn't like this place but now I do again.
“Once I got over Friday afternoon and stopped being a little moaner, you could say, I had my eyes forward, and I honestly thought I could win, and that was my ambition.
“The team thought if we had a good race I could get fifth, maybe even a little bit better, but I was in bed last night, manifesting a win.
“In the end, obviously, I was lucky with the safety car but I'm super happy we were able to get it done.”
Once on the soft tyre behind the safety car, it initially appeared it would be only a matter of time before he passed Pourchaire, although Doohan concedes there was a degree of scepticism, despite the tyre offset.
“I knew I had a traction advantage but as we saw on the first stint, and as we saw at the Hungaroring, the two compounds, the medium and soft at the moment, are not really too far apart, so it wasn't a clear advantage,” assessed Doohan.
“Odds were definitely a little bit in my favour being on lighter fuel and the preferred tyre compound. In the end, it wasn't as easy as I thought. Maybe we were running a little bit different aero packages and I wasn't able to get past as easily as I would have liked.
“But in the end, we got it done. The guys at Virtuosi have given me an awesome car, especially the last few weekends, so it's definitely made it easier.”