There was double success for Arden International’s GP3 Series team as Emil Bernstorff and Kevin Ceccon stepped onto the podium in Monza.
The drivers faced their first wet Qualifying of the season but luckily this didn’t disturb the drivers’ confidence too much, with Ceccon finishing the session fourth, Bernstorff finishing fifth and Aleksander Bosak twentieth.
Ceccon had a great start in the first race and managed to move up into third, but while trying to make a gap from Marvin Kirchhofer briefly touched wheels with the German, leaving Ceccon’s car with slight imbalance from the contact.
The Italian did his best to hold onto third but was passed by his team-mate Bernstorff on lap 13, as the Brit stormed through the pack. However, Ceccon pushed on and passed Matt Parry on the last lap to secure his third rostrum of this season.
“In Race 1 I was up to second place but came together with Marvin Kirchhofer at Roggia and bent the rim a little so the car wasn’t feeling great, especially on lateral G’s, it was vibrating a bit. However, we got a podium in the end which is super” said Ceccon.
Ceccon started Sunday’s Race from sixth and climbed to fourth by lap 6. He finished the race just off the podium, adding a further 8 points to his tally to set him fifth in the Driver’s Championship. “Finishing fourth is almost close to a second podium in a home race so I’m quite happy” he added.
Bernstorff started Saturday’s race well, overtaking Kirchhofer on the second lap. From there the battle with the German continued as the two fought hard for fourth, Kirchhofer briefly grasping the place back on lap 5 before the Brit snatched it back three laps later. Energised by this fight, Bernsorff hunted down the front-runners, passing Ceccon on lap 14, gaining a second per lap he passed Parry two laps later, just leaving him to dispose of leader Esteban Ocon.
“I spent a few laps trying to get past Marvin and once I cleared him I found really good race pace and I managed to reel the others in one by one” said Bernstorff
With two laps to the end of the race, he made a valiant move on Ocon, around the outside into the Roggia chicane; the move paid off as the Brit seized the lead and took the chequered flag 0.9s ahead of the Frenchman, with fastest lap of the race also in the bag.
Despite a great start up to fifth, Bernsorff was blocked by Ocon at turn 1, dropping back to seventh. With a wounded tyre he was doing his best to make up the lost spots, however, a battle for sixth ended abruptly as he tried to overtake Alex Fontana around the outside into Turn 1. The resulting collision saw Fontana later penalised for with a 10 second time penalty.
“The accident with Fontana was unlucky, he didn’t really give me any room, so I hit the kerbs and landed in the gravel” said Bernstorff.
Bosak had a difficult start to the weekend – which did not improve as the weekend played out. The Polish driver started race 1 twentieth and on the back foot as clutch troubles marred his start. He was penalised later in the race for a jump start and took a drive-through penalty, finishing seventeenth.
“I had some trouble with the clutch at the start of Race 1. Then when I was fourteenth fighting, I had to come through the pit lane for a penalty, which pushed me to the back of the pack” admitted Bosak.
He started the second race from fifteenth place, but failed to complete the opening lap as he made contact and was discharged into the gravel, ending his race. “For Race 2 I had a good start, but I ended to the left of the track and one driver blocked me and I hit the brakes. I tried to recover and made a mistake, making contact with another driver and I went off into the gravel”