The Russian national anthem played out as MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat claimed his debut win in GP3 after a great start secured him a lights to flag victory. Kvyat was under pressure from ART Grand Prix’s Conor Daly through-out the 13 lap race, the American coming home in second, whilst Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix) moved into the lead of the championship after recording third place in Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps. Kvyat posted the fastest lap of the race, also putting himself in contention for the elusive GP3 crown.
Rain stayed away for the race with Carlos Sainz (MW Arden) starting from pole, but it was his teammate Kvyat who snuck in front and made a faster getaway to claim the lead, whilst Daly also got the better of his teammate Jack Harvey moving into second, demoting Sainz. Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing) came into the race leading the Series by one point and he stalled from fifth on the grid, dropping down to P19 on lap one.
There was contact at La Source between Josh Webster (Status Grand Prix) and Emanuele Zonzini (Trident) which brought out the safety car for a short period whilst the cars were removed. At the re-start, Kvyat kept composed and held his small advantage over Daly, but there was a short break in proceedings when there was a small incident between Adderly Fong (Status Grand Prix) who braked late approaching La Source and made light contact with Jenzer Motorsport’s Patric Niederhauser.
Once the action resumed, Daly continued to harass Kvyat for the lead whilst Harvey was glued to the back of Sainz for the final spot on the rostrum. The Brit made his move on the Spaniard, as the two diced wheel to wheel but as Harvey moved to the right, contact was made which brought a premature end to the race for the pair of them. The safety car was deployed whilst the cars were moved off the circuit, with the race finishing as those positions.
Regalia moved into P3 and into a podium finish following the non-finish of Sainz and Harvey, after previously holding off Alexander Sims (Carlin). Sims had attempted a move on the Argentine driver but run over a kerb allowing Koiranen GP’s Kevin Korjus to slice through and take his place. Ellinas also carved his way through the pack and at the chequered flag he was eighth, pocketing four points in the title chase and most importantly collecting reverse pole for Race 2 tomorrow.
At the chequered flag, Kvyat crossed the line four tenths ahead of Daly as he punched the air with delight. Regalia was third, in front of Korjus, Sims, Nick Yelloly (Carlin), Melville McKee (Bamboo Engineering), Ellinas, Robert Visoiu (MW Arden) and Dino Zamparelli (Marussia Manor Racing).
Championship contender Aaro Vainio (Koiranen GP) suffered a right rear puncture and had to pit which dropped him down the pack. Regalia now holds a 10 point lead in the Drivers’ Standings on 105 points with Ellinas now second. Daly has moved up to third place on 89, with Korjus and Kvyat close in pursuit on 87 and 84.
ART Grand Prix continue to lead the way in the Teams Standings on 269 points, with MW Arden in second on 190 and Koiranen GP on 162.
Race 2 starts at 09.25 local time, again the weather here is unpredictable here in the Ardennes, who will claim a further hold in the title chase?