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
|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|
|6||Nick Yelloly||GBR||Status Grand Prix||+1.869s|
|7||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||Status Grand Prix||+2.330s|
|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|