Austria GP3: Tunjo battles through the pack for first win

Oscar Tunjo made it two wins from as many GP3 races for his Trident team at the Red Bull Ring by battling his way from ninth on the grid to a maiden series victory.

The Colombian came into his own in the closing laps, lapping over a second a lap faster than his rivals, in a masterclass in tyre management to take the win, passing long-time leader Marvin Kirchhofer with three laps to go.

Kirchhofer took the lead from reverse grid polesitter Ralph Boschung at Turn 2 on the second lap after the end of an early safety car period, caused by an over-ambitious Antonio Fuoco getting his braking wrong at the same corner on the first lap.

The Italian clattered into the side of his Carlin teammate Jann Mardenborough, who was able to continue after a pitstop with sidepod damage, and Sandy Stuvik, who along with Fuoco was out of the race on the spot.

Once clear of Boschung, who progressively dropped down the order after losing the lead, Kirchhofer stretched his legs at the head of the field, leading by as much as 1.8s at two-thirds distance ahead of ART teammate Esteban Ocon.

But the Frenchman was powerless to resist an inspired Tunjo in the closing stages, as the Trident driver passed Emil Bernstorff and race one winner Luca Ghiotto in successive laps before diving up the inside of Ocon with four laps to go at Turn 3.

Tunjo then closed on Kirchhofer at a veritable rate of knots, making the inevitable pass for victory with a bold outside pass at Turn 2.

Kirchhofer, despite being reeled in by Ocon and his pursuers, was able to hold on for second ahead of the reigning European Formula 3 champion, with Ghiotto hanging on to fourth after forcing an attacking Bernstorff onto the grass on the final lap in their battle for position.

The Brit recovered to finish fifth, ahead of Matheo Tuscher, an impressive Seb Morris, who took seventh from 19th on the grid, and Alex Fontana, with polesitter Boschung dropping down to 10th behind Matt Parry.

Results to follow

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About this article
Series GP3
Event Spielberg
Track Red Bull Ring
Drivers Oscar Tunjo , Esteban Ocon , Marvin Kirchhofer
Article type Race report