Niederhauser beats Stoneman in Sochi Classic


Patric Niederhauser took his second GP3 Series victory of the season in thrilling style as he held off the challenge of Dean Stoneman and Marvin Kirchhofer for the win.

A late safety car to clear up the stranded Hilmer Motorsport machine of Russian driver Nikolay Martsenko left a two lap sprint to the line, and Arden International driver Niederhauser was made to work hard as first Kirchhofer and then Stoneman made a move to take the lead.

Niederhauser made a perfect start from pole position to maintain his lead, while his team-mate Jann Mardenborough jumped from third on the grid to move ahead of Alex Lynn into second. Kirchhofer made a good start to jump into fourth having started seventh.

The race was suspended at the end of the first lap after a huge crash involving four cars, including race one podium finisher Alex Fontana, Riccardo Agostini, Richie Stanaway and Pal Varhaug. Fontana got squeezed on the run down to turn one by Stoneman and his Koiranen GP team-mate Jimmy Eriksson that broke the ART Grand Prix drivers suspension, and the other three drivers had nowhere to go other than the scene of the accident.

All four cars were out on the spot, with Stanaway’s car taking the biggest impact that saw the gearbox of his Status Grand Prix car ripped off. But the promising news is all four drivers were able to walk away from the accident. Eriksson was subsequently handed a ten second stop and go penalty for the incident.

Once the race resumed, Niederhauser controlled the restart perfectly, while Kirchhofer passed Lynn for third, and then Mardenborough for second before taking time out of the Swiss driver up front. Stoneman followed Niederhauser through passed Lynn, but could not find a way passed Mardenborough.

On the second restart after Martsenko’s car was removed, Stoneman made the move on Mardenborough stick, before closing the gap to the battle up front between Niederhauser and Kirchhofer. Stoneman took advantage to take second, and almost became the first driver to take two victories in a weekend in 2014, but missed out by 0.368s, with the top eight covered by 3.003s.

Mardenborough held off Lynn for fourth, with the Carlin driver unable to clinch the title in Russia, but the Briton will head into the Abu Dhabi weekend in six weeks time with only Stoneman now in with a chance of preventing Lynn from taking the crown.

Nick Yelloly finished sixth for Status Grand Prix, ahead of team-mate Alfonso Celis Jr who scored his first points of the season. The final point went to Emil Bernstorff, despite the Briton starting the race on the back row of the grid.

Sochi Race 2 Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME/Laps
1 Patric Niederhauser SWI Arden International 54m22.342s
2 Dean Stoneman GBR Koiranen GP +0.368s
3 Marvin Kirchhofer GER ART Grand Prix +0.683s
4 Jann Mardenborough GBR Arden International +1.144s
5 Alex Lynn GBR Carlin +1.416s
6 Nick Yelloly GBR Status Grand Prix +1.869s
7 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX Status Grand Prix +2.330s
8 Emil Bernstorff GBR Carlin +3.003s
9 Patrick Kujala FIN Trident Racing +3.540s
10 Robert Visoiu ROM Arden International +3.977s
11 Matheo Tuscher SWI Jenzer Motorsport +4.681s
12 Santiago Urrutia URU Koiranen GP +6.103s
13 Dino Zamparelli GBR ART Grand Prix +7.844s
14 Mitchell Gilbert AUS Trident Racing +8.135s
15 Luis Sa Silva MAC Carlin +8.555s
16 Jimmy Eriksson SWE Koiranen GP +9.153s
RET Nikolay Martsenko RUS Hilmer Motorsport 9 Laps
RET Kevin Ceccon ITA Jenzer Motorsport 9 Laps
RET Alex Fontana SWI ART Grand Prix 0 Laps
RET Riccardo Agostini ITA Hilmer Motorsport 0 Laps
RET Pal Varhaug NOR Jenzer Motorsport 0 Laps
RET Richie Stanaway NZL Status Grand Prix 0 Laps