Perfection! 31 points scored, race win and the GP3 crown all belong to MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat. Following the recent announcement that Kvyat will graduate to F1 next year, the Russian has been in scintillating form, dominating every session and took victory in a commanding and mature style. The Carlin duo of Alexander Sims and Nick Yelloly joined him on the rostrum at the Yas Marina circuit whilst ART Grand Prix clinched their fourth consecutive team champions’ trophy.
Kvyat started from pole and flew away well, unlike Koiranen GP’s Kevin Korjus who stalled from P2 on the grid, luckily all of the drivers managed to avoid him. Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport) made a lightning getaway from P8 to P4, whilst the Carlin pair of Yelloly and Sims snuck into second and third.
The safety car was deployed for two laps after Bamboo Engineering’s Carmen Jorda spun and the car was stuck on the circuit. Once the action resumed, Kvyat controlled the pack well, maintaining a small advantage. His closest title rival Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix) started from P10 and was into ninth early on. However, the Argentine had his mirrors full of red with the charging Tio Ellinas as the two diced wheel to wheel. Elsewhere, Conor Daly moved up to fourth, overtaking Niederhauser, whilst the action behind got even tastier.
Regalia ran wide over the chicane which later he received a 20s time penalty for, as he exceeded track limits. Carlos Sainz (MW Arden) began to hunt down Niederhauser as the two ran side-by-side at Turn 11, the two made contact. The result – the Swiss driver retired whilst the Spaniard continued, ableit with damage.
Kvyat held a 1.4s advantage over the Carlin pair, whist rookie Dean Stoneman for Koiranen GP held a strong sixth place in his maiden GP3 race. At this point in proceedings, Regalia was seventh which wasn’t enough to keep in the title hunt despite his best efforts. Sims rose to P2 after passing his teammate Yelloly on lap 8, whilst the Russian ace increased his gap at the front to almost 4 seconds.
As the chequered flag drew closer, Daly was on the back of Yelloly’s gearbox in an enthralling finish, but it was 19 year old Kvyat who stole the show and recorded a stunning victory and the prestigious GP3 championship with it!
It was a good day for Carlin, with Sims and Yelloly on the podium, ahead of Daly and Jack Harvey. Stoneman enjoyed his first appearance with a fine sixth place, ahead of Ellinas and the Patrick Kujala (the latter posting his best result of his GP3 career in eighth). Sainz and Dino Zamparelli completed the top 10. Kujala will start tomorrow’s Race 2 from Reverse Pole.
ART Grand Prix wrapped up the teams’ championship trophy and end the day on 360 points, with MW Arden on 273 and Koiranen GP on 195.
Kvyat on 162 points in the Drivers’ Standings cannot be caught, but the fight amongst the next six drivers remains highly competitive with Regalia on 138, ahead of Daly (116), Korjus (107), Harvey (106), Ellinas (101) and Yelloly (101.)
The final race of the season takes place tomorrow at 12.00pm – midday at the breath-taking Yas Marina Circuit, with many drivers with a point to prove and hoping for a stunning display to end the year.