GP2 Series

Evans Is GP3 Champion As Abt Is Denied By Ellinas

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Mitch Evans - Photo Credit: Octane Photographic

Mitch Evans has won the 2012 GP3 Series title after a nail-biting finish to the season at Monza, where outsider Daniel Abt nearly achieved the double victory he needed to steal the title after Evans suffered a puncture, but the German was unable to cope with the speed of first-time race winner Tio Ellinas.

Abt started from eighth on the grid after his win in Saturday’s first race, and needed to win the race again to deny Evans. The New Zealander started from 25th and last on the grid following his first lap retirement on Saturday.

Abt got up to fifth at the start, which became fourth when his Lotus GP teammate Conor Daly ended up in the Parabolica gravel trap after trying to pass Marlon Stockinger for third place. Italians Giovanni Venturini and David Fumanelli led the way on home soil after starting from first and third on the grid.

Abt was soon by Stockinger, and then took second away from Fumanelli before taking the lead of the race from Venturini on lap six. Therefore he was provisionally champion.

Evans made good progress on lap one, despite a repeat of his trip through the grass at the first chicane from Saturday’s race, as he got up to 15th. He continued that charge, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. He got into the top ten, which allowed him to claim the two bonus points for that fastest lap, and therefore he moved back into the championship lead as it stood. He quickly got up into the top eight, just to make sure, but after a couple of off-track excursions he picked up a puncture and went sailing through the gravel exiting the Lesmos.

Evans’ race was all but over, putting the championship battle into Abt’s hands.  Ellinas, who claimed his first podium on Saturday, was up to third after starting seventh. He found a way past Venturini on lap 11 and set off after Abt.

He moved into the lead with just over three laps to go, on the following lap Abt regained the place. On the penultimate lap Ellinas retook the lead of the race at the second chicane, and Abt came under pressure from Venturini as he struggled for his tyres. Venturini made a move on the last lap at the second chicane, but Abt cut the corner to retain the place. He was forced to settle for second, meaning Evans was champion.

Ellinas completed the season with his maiden victory, as Venturini took a second podium finish of the year after only joining the series halfway through. Stockinger took fourth, while Antonio Felix da Costa won a battle with Aaro Vainio to finish fifth. Just like on Saturday, Vainio was found guilty of ignoring yellow flags and had 20 seconds added to his time, dropping him to 14th.

Fellow Finn Matias Laine once again inherited Vainio’s finishing position in sixth. Robert Visoiu was seventh, while Alice Powell became the first of the championship’s female drivers to score a point this season at the last opportunity.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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