Stoneman takes Victory in Crazy Spa Race 1


Dean Stoneman took his second GP3 Series victory of the season as he moved up from eleventh place on the grid to take the win in a hectic and at some times bizarre race at a damp but drying Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The Briton, driving for Marussia Manor Racing, started the race on dry weather tyres while many ahead of him stuck to wets, and took over at the front when fellow dry tyre starter Matheo Tuscher spun out from the lead with a few laps to go at Eau Rouge.

Stoneman took the chequered flag first and led home a British driver 1-2-3-4, with Dino Zamparelli of ART Grand Prix, Nick Yelloly of Status Grand Prix and Jann Mardenborough of Arden International finishing in close proximity of the winner.

It was a crazy start to the race, with ART Grand Prix driver Marvin Kirchhofer not even making it to the grid after crashing on the formation lap. He would have been the highest placed driver in the field to start on dry tyres, but that honour would go to Patric Niederhauser, but unfortunately his race was over at the first corner when the Arden International driver went in too deep into the corner and crashed into the Koiranen GP machine of Jimmy Eriksson, eliminating them both on the spot.

Emil Bernstorff of Carlin took the early lead away from surprise pole sitter Luca Ghiotto of Trident Racing, but the British driver pitted at the end of the first lap as it was obvious that the track was drying quick enough to be on the dry tyres. This became evident when the dry tyre shod drivers began picking their way through the cars that stayed on wet tyres, including Ghiotto, who saw the chance of a good result disappear by staying out far too long before switching to dry tyres. Bernstorff would recover to ninth, but missed out on reverse grid pole by half a second.

Norwegian driver Pal Varhaug finished fifth for Jenzer Motorsport, who at least took some points away from the first race at Spa after Tuscher elimination from the lead with four laps to go. The Swiss teenager was looking comfortable in the lead but lost control of his car going through Eau Rouge, and although he kept the car out of the barriers, he lost the engine and was left stranded in the middle of the road, which resulted in a safety car period.

Alex Fontana finally took his first points of the season in sixth for ART Grand Prix, ahead of Status Grand Prix driver Richie Stanaway and Carlin driver Alex Lynn, both took wet tyres on the grid but pitted on the formation lap to swap to dry tyres. Bernstorff finished on the tail of his team-mate in ninth, while Riccardo Agostini took the final point on offer in tenth for Hilmer Motorsport.

In even more bizarre ending to the race, officials forgot to wave the chequered flag at the end of the twelve scheduled laps, and were forced to throw out the red flag to stop drivers racing on.

Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME/Laps
1 Dean Stoneman GBR Marussia Manor Racing 28m58.508s
2 Dino Zamparelli GBR ART Grand Prix +1.210s
3 Nick Yelloly GBR Status Grand Prix +2.923s
4 Jann Mardenborough GBR Arden International +3.837s
5 Pal Varhaug NOR Jenzer Motorsport +4.938s
6 Alex Fontana SWI ART Grand Prix +5.734s
7 Richie Stanaway NZL Status Grand Prix +7.012s
8 Alex Lynn GBR Carlin +7.555s
9 Emil Bernstorff GBR Carlin +8.059s
10 Riccardo Agostini ITA Hilmer Motorsport +9.237s
11 Kevin Ceccon ITA Jenzer Motorsport +10.027s
12 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX Status Grand Prix +10.547s
13 Santiago Urrutia URU Koiranen GP +11.831s
14 Ryan Cullen GBR Marussia Manor Racing +25.472s
15 Nelson Mason CAN Hilmer Motorsport +35.045s
16 Luis Sa Silva MAC Carlin +1m10.700s
17 Carmen Jorda ESP Koiranen GP +1m43.531s
18 Luca Ghiotto ITA Trident Racing +1m45.090s
19/RET Sebastian Balthasar GER Hilmer Motorsport +2 Laps
20/RET John Bryant-Meisner SWE Trident Racing +2 Laps
RET Matheo Tuscher SWI Jenzer Motorsport 7 Laps
RET Robert Visoiu ROM Arden International 4 Laps
RET Patrick Kujala FIN Marussia Manor Racing 0 Laps
RET Jimmy Eriksson SWE Koiranen GP 0 Laps
RET Patric Niederhauser SWI Arden International 0 Laps
DNS Marvin Kirchhofer GER ART Grand Prix 0 Laps
DNS Konstantin Tereschenko RUS Trident Racing 0 Laps