Stoneman storms to superb win in thrilling Spa race

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Marussia Manor Racing’s Dean Stoneman victorious in action-packed Race 1

A stunning drive from Dean Stoneman saw him secure his second win of the 2014 GP3 Series season after qualifying from P11 on the grid. A race of strategy saw drivers switching from wet to slicks before the lights went out, but it was Brit' Stoneman who handled the pressure to drive a mature race to be triumphant in Belgium. ART Grand Prix’s Dino Zamparelli and Status Grand Prix’s Nick Yelloly completed the podium.

Rain had fallen prior to race one but conditions had improved before the lights went out – giving drivers and teams the tricky call of which tyre to start the race on. The first six drivers opted for wet with a large majority of the rest of the field starting on wets. Unfortunately for Marvin Kirchhöfer, he would not make it past the formation lap after spinning and making contact with the barrier.

Series leader Alex Lynn and title contender Richie Stanaway both made late calls to switch to the dry rubber before the lights went out, therefore starting from the pitlane. Trident debutant Luca Ghiotto in his first race weekend started from pole position but it was Emil Bernstorff (Carlin) who made a traditional good start to snatch the lead from second on the grid. Patric Niederhauser made contact with Jimmy Eriksson into Turn 1, which ended both of their races prematurely.

Jenzer Motorsport’s Kevin Ceccon and Hilmer Motorsport’s Nelson Mason made excellent starts into fourth and fifth whilst third place for Patrick Kujala was short lived after he spun and retired on the opening lap. Race leader Bernstorff pitted for slicks after the first lap, handing Ghiotto the lead.

Mathéo Tuscher in sixth was the first amongst the pack on slick tyres who began to carve his way up the order, with Stoneman hot on his heels. The Swiss rookie moved up to second as the drivers in front of him began to pit or fall back through the order with wet tyres no longer the best tyre to be on. After four laps, the Jenzer Motorsport driver passed Ghiotto for P1. The Italian then pitted for new rubber with Stoneman and Zamparelli in second and third.

P1 in the hands of Stoneman

Tuscher held a 2.9s margin over Stoneman with a further ten seconds back to Zamparelli. The Swiss was soon to be heartbroken, making an error on the approach of Eau Rouge and losing control – he managed to avoid the barrier with his spin but couldn’t re-start his car. As his Jenzer Motorsport car was in a dangerous position, the safety car was deployed for several laps whilst it was removed.

P1 was in the hands of Stoneman who had looked racy from the outset and he pulled out a one second gap to Zamparelli. After an eventful race, it was Stoneman and Marussia Manor Racing’s turn to celebrate after a brilliant win in challenging conditions. Zamparelli added another rostrum to his bow, awaiting his elusive maiden victory, with Yelloly coming home in third. Jann Mardenborough, Pal Varhaug, Alex Fontana, Stanaway, Lynn, Bernstorff and Riccardo Agostini completed the top ten. Stoneman pocketed the extra points on offer for fastest lap too.

Carlin and Red Bull Junior Team driver Lynn will start tomorrow’s race from reverse pole. Lynn remains on top of the Drivers’ Standings, with the deficit to Stanaway in second dropping to 29 points. Yelloly has moved up to third in the standings ahead of Bernstorff and Eriksson. Status Grand Prix close in on Carlin in the Teams’ Standings, with ART Grand Prix in third.

After a scintillating race today, tomorrow promises to provide yet another epic encounter – catch it at 09.25 local time tomorrow.

Spa-Francorchamps – Race 1

 
Driver
Team
1.
Dean Stoneman
Marussia Manor Racing
2.
Dino Zamparelli
ART Grand Prix
3.
Nick Yelloly
Status Grand Prix
4.
Jann Mardenborough
Arden International
5.
Pal Varhaug
Jenzer Motorsport
6.
Alex Fontana
ART Grand Prix
7.
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
8.
Alex Lynn
Carlin
9.
Emil Bernstorff
Carlin
10.
Riccardo Agostini
Hilmer Motorsport
11.
Kevin Ceccon
Jenzer Motorsport
12.
Alfonso Celis. Jr
Status Grand Prix
13.
Santiago Urrutia
Koiranen GP
14.
Ryan Cullen
Marussia Manor Racing
15.
Nelson Mason
Hilmer Motorsport
16.
Luis Sa Silva
Carlin
17.
Carmen Jorda
Koiranen GP
18.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
19.
Sébastian Balthasar
Hilmer Motorsport
20.
John Bryant-Meisner
Trident
Fastest Lap : Matheo Tuscher (Jenzer Motorsport) : 2 :10.452 on lap 7
 
Not Classified:
Matheo Tuscher
Jenzer Motorsport
Robert Visoiu
Arden International
Jimmy Eriksson
Koiranen GP
Patrick Kujala
Marussia Manor Racing
Marvin Kirchhofer
ART Grand Prix
  GP3
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About this article
Series GP3
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Sub-event Saturday post-race
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Pal Varhaug, Dean Stoneman, Dino Zamparelli, Nick Yelloly, Jann Mardenborough
Article type Race report
Tags arden international, art grand prix, jenzer motorsport, marussia manor racing, status grand prix

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