Marussia Manor Racing’s Dean Stoneman claims maiden GP3 victory
British driver Dean Stoneman delivered the goods in tricky conditions in Sunday’s GP3 Race 2 in Spain. Rain fell before the start of the race and it was the Marussia Manor Racing driver who made a stunning overtake on Jenzer Motorsport’s Matheo Tuscher on lap two and held off the charge from the Swiss rookie until the line. Dino Zamparelli for ART Grand Prix enjoyed his maiden rostrum finish in the category.
After rain fell overnight and around an hour prior to the race starting, the Circuit de Catalunya track was damp with threatening clouds looming overhead. Tuscher started from reverse pole and all 27 drivers started on the slick Pirelli tyre.
At the start, Tuscher held his lead with Stoneman, Zamparelli and Jimmy Eriksson (Koiranen GP) in tow. However the Brit in second had all eyes on the lead and made a brave and successful manoeuvre on the Swiss driver to sneak into P1. In the early laps, Stoneman tried to pull an advantage but Tuscher remained close on his tail.
Patrick Kujala made contact with Nick Yelloly (Status Grand Prix) and the Finn retired at turn one where as Yelloly was able to continue. There was action throughout the field with Marvin Kirchhöfer making a move on Eriksson – the two apparently glued to each other for a large part of the race producing some exciting racing.
The safety car was deployed following Trident’s Denis Nagulin spinning and stopping on track. After a few laps, the pack bunched together ready for the re-start and Stoneman held his nerve to remain in front. In the meantime, Race 1 winner – Alex Lynn and ART Grand Prix’s Alex Fontana decided to take a chance and pitted for the wet tyre under the safety car. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off with the pair finishing outside of the top ten.
At the midway point of the race, Alfonso Celis Jr (Status Grand Prix) touched Pal Varhuag (Jenzer Motorsport) – the duo both ended their race in the gravel – whilst Carlin’s Emil Bernstorff was busy storming through the field. The Brit started the race from down in P24 and finished an impressive P8.
Zamparelli was under huge pressure from Richie Stanaway (Status Grand Prix) in the closing stages but the Brit resisted the Kiwi’s efforts to hold onto a debut podium. In the final few laps (a race which finished under time – not full race distance) – Tuscher began to harass Stoneman for the win and the two were locked together but it was Stoneman who stormed to victory in Spain.
Behind Stoneman at the chequered flag, completing the top eight point’s scorers were: Tuscher, Zamparelli, Kirchhöfer, Eriksson, Yelloly, and Bernstorff. Patric Niederhauser just missed out on a top eight finish but pocketed two points for fastest lap since he finished within the top ten.
Lynn continues to lead the Drivers’ Standings on 31 points with Stanaway in second on 23 and Eriksson in third on 22. It’s all very tight in the Teams’ Standings with ART Grand Prix on 34, one point ahead of Marussia Manor Racing who have a one point advantage over Carlin.
The second round of the GP3 Series will be at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria – a brand new venue – catch us in action on 20-22 June 2014.