Marvin Kirchhöfer claimed his third win of the season after Koiranen GP’s Jimmy Eriksson, who had led almost the entire race, suffered technical gremlins on the penultimate lap of the race.
The ART Grand Prix star jumped into the lead after a strong drive, to record a 1-2 finish for the French squad ahead of Esteban Ocon. Series leader Luca Ghiotto who started from P19 drove a remarkable race to finish third.
Status Grand Prix’s Alex Fontana started from reverse pole alongside Campos Racing’s Alex Palou. The Spaniard spun whilst warming up his tyres on the installation lap and made a very light contact with the wall. The rookie was able to take his position on the starting grid.
Once the lights went out, it was the Swiss driver who was quick away, with Jenzer Motorsport’s Matheo Tuscher up to second ahead of Eriksson and Palou. Kirchhöfer and Ocon raced side-by-side on the opening lap with the German holding position.
Kirchhöfer passed Palou for fourth, whilst Tuscher ran wide through the gravel losing several positions. On lap four, Eriksson overtook Fontana for P1 and shortly after Kirchhöfer did the same. There was action aplenty with Ocon fighting to catch the race leaders and whilst he was busy trying to overtake Fontana, Arden International’s Kevin Ceccon seized the opportunity and pounced on the Frenchman to steal his place.
On lap 7, Ghiotto was already up to P7 demonstrating an ominous pace to his rivals. Ceccon in fourth, ran wide whilst hunting down Fontana and this time it was Ocon who was ready to make the most of the Italian’s mistake and he got by the pair of them into third.
At the front Eriksson held a 1.2s advantage over Kirchhöfer with Ocon two further seconds back. Ghiotto was on a mission, first he passed Bernstorff for P6, then Fontana for fifth on lap 9. On lap ten, contact was made between Bernstorff and Fontana into turn one and two. The Swiss driver was issued with a 10s time penalty for causing a collision, and yesterday’s Race 1 winner Bernstorff ended his race prematurely in the gravel.
As the laps ticked down, Eriksson had built up the gap at the front to almost 2s. Ghiotto continued to carve his way through the pack and moved into fourth ahead of his fellow compatriot Ceccon.
On the penultimate lap of the race, Eriksson who had controlled the race beautifully; began to slow down and Kirchhöfer romped past into the lead of the race. During the last few corners of the final lap, Ocon and Ghiotto also found a way past the ailing car of Eriksson, thus promoting the championship leader to a podium finish. Ceccon finished fourth, ahead of Eriksson, Tuscher, Ralph Boschung and Sandy Stuvik.
Ocon has closed the gap to Ghiotto in the Drivers’ Standings and the Trident Motorsport driver leaves Round 6 with a 14 point advantage. Kirchhöfer has risen to third, with Bernstorff down to fourth after failing to score.
With their one-two finish, ART have extended their mammoth lead in the Teams’ Standings to over 100 points. Arden International lie in second place ahead of Trident.
The GP3 Series will be back for Round 7 in Sochi, Russia on October 09-11.