GP3 Series

Mixed Weekend for ART Grand Prix

2 Mins read

ART Grand Prix left Spa Francorchamps with a number of podiums, four in total, two for Esteban Ocon, one for Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alfonso Celis Jr. secured the first podium of his career in GP3.

ART retains command of the team standings while Esteban and Marvin are 2nd and 3rd in the drivers’ championship respectively.

The three ART Grand Prix drivers dutifully learnt their lessons during practice for the 5th race weekend of the season contested on the demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

All three then applied that knowledge to integrate into the top 10 with Esteban leading the trio (second) ahead of Marvin (third) and Alfonso (10th).

The German, however, was demoted to sixth place after he was deemed to have interfered with a fellow competitor.

Esteban took to the lead of the race in the first meters, taking Emil Bernstorff, Kevin Ceccon and Luca Ghiotto in his wake while Marvin and Alfonso seized 5th and 8th places respectively on the second lap.

The Mexican climbed up a notch one lap later when the race director put the race into virtual safety car conditions, the first of a series of three that interrupted the race and forced Esteban to defend his lead three times.

Due to a radio misunderstanding Ocon was too quick at the last re-start and, although the winner when he crossed the finish line, he was downgraded to second after an investigation by race direction. When discussing losing his victory Ocon stated: “To lose this victory was a big disappointment but there’s no point crying over spilt milk…” 

Taking advantage of some retirements and a very good race pace that allowed them to pass more opponents, Marvin and Alfonso scored points for 3rd and 7th places respectively.

On Sunday morning, the three ART drivers took the start of the second race as one to form a solid trio behind the leader, Alex Palou.

Esteban lost his second place to Ghiotto at the end of the second safety car period, but recovered the position on the 10th lap at the expense of Palou.

Alfonso Celis Jr won his battles to earn his first podium on the penultimate lap of the race. Marvin Kirchhöfer was a contender for the podium as well until lap six when he was hit twice by Antonio Fuoco in Les Combes, forcing the German to retire.

With 63 points from Belgium, ART Grand Prix retains the overall lead by increasing the gap to 83 points.

In the drivers’ championship, Esteban and Marvin are second and third, respectively 28 and 41 points behind the leader Luca Ghiotto, while Alfonso Celis Junior moves up from 18th to 11th.

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An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
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