MW Arden driver Mitch Evans was crowned GP3 Series champion at Monza this morning – despite finishing only 20th in the final race of the campaign. The Kiwi started the race with 14 points in hand over title rival Daniel Abt as the pair lined up 25th and seventh respectively.
As Abt picked his way towards the front of the field, Evans moved up into the top 10 – and set fastest lap in the process. That stacked the odds in his favour, but he then sustained a right-rear puncture that forced him to pit and dropped him to the tail of the pack.
If Abt won, he would now take the title – a situation Evans was powerless to defend.
The German spent a considerable time in the lead, but was eventually overhauled by Marussia Manor driver Tio Ellinas.
The leading pair fought a titanic lead battle during the closing stages, but Ellinas got the verdict and that was enough to give Evans the title by two points. His MW Arden team-mates Matias Laine and David Fumanelli both featured in the top six, but after running second Fumanelli dropped back to 13th after his car picked up assorted damage.
Laine climbed as high as fifth, but slipped to seventh after a quick spin. For the second time in as many days, however, rival Aaro Vainio collected a time penalty for ignoring yellow flags and Laine was elevated to sixth.
Mitch Evans: “There are probably easier ways to win a title and I guess I owe Tio a big vote of thanks. My job was to get up into the points and I was on course to do that, because I’d been passing people from the start and the car felt really good.
I was up into the top 10 and challenging to get into the points when Aaro Vainio clipped me on the pit straight and damaged my tyre. I was really hoping to avoid trouble, because I wanted the destiny of the title to be in my own hands, but it’s one of those things and I just had to hope other results would go my way.
Happily they did and I’m absolutely delighted to have wrapped up the championship, even if it wasn’t the best way to do it. This has been a great season, though, and I’d like to thank everybody at MW Arden for their contribution. It’s greatly appreciated.”
Matias Laine: “Not a bad result, but it wasn’t an especially good race for me. I made an average start and committed a few mistakes along the way, including one spin. The car was good, though, and it has definitely been a season of two halves: it took me a while to find my feet, but I now know that I can be competitive and the next step is to challenge for the title.”
David Fumanelli: “I got away well and ran second during the early stages, but then came under pressure and ended up sliding wide into the gravel. I flat-spotted a tyre at one point and that made the car ever more difficult to drive.
Then another driver punted me over the kerbs at the first chicane and that was effectively the end of my race. There have been some very good moments this season, so it was a disappointing note on which to end.”
Source: MW Arden