Runaway Leclerc Wins as Dennis Denies ART 1-2 Finish at Spa

Charles Leclerc (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 2016 GP3 Series Round 6 Spa - Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium Saturday 27 August 2016 Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service ref: Digital Image _SLA4684

A dramatic first race from Spa-Francorchamps saw Charles Leclerc take the honours. The win is his third of the GP3 Series season and sees him extend his championship lead. Elsewhere a late race charge from Jake Dennis saw him deny ART Grand Prix a one-two.

As the lights went out at the start, it was a poor start for second place Jake Hughes. It was made worse when he squeezed team-mate Kevin Jorg bunching up the field behind. The resulting mess saw Matt Parry and Arjun Maini collide with Hughes.

Elsewhere, Jorg’s stricken DAMS collected a number of others, including Nirei Fukuzumi who added to the retirements. Leclerc held onto the lead from team-mate Nyck de Vries as a safety car was called to clear the mess.

The biggest winner had been Dennis who jumped nearly half of the field to line up fourth behind the clean starting Antonio Fuoco. Leclerc was wise to his ART Grand Prix compatriot and made a perfect restart, maintaining his lead as they went back to green.

As the race continued on, other drivers found themselves off the track at various points. One of them, Alexander Albon, made it his race work to claim eighth, reverse grid pole.

Another driver on the move was Santino Ferrucci. The American had stalled on the start, but was on the move towards the end of the race eventually catching Matevos Isaakyan and Alex Palou, to take seventh.

With four laps remaining, Dennis’ tyres finally came of age and he used the slipstream to take second from Fuoco, then de Vries, within two laps. Unfortunately for Dennis, Leclerc had long since driven away ruining his chance of a maiden win.

In the end, the chequered flag flew for Leclerc as he extended his championship lead. Dennis and de Vries completed the podium with rival Fuoco managing fourth.

Steijn Schothorst had spent the majority of the race in a lonely fifth, though dropped a place to Jack Aitken on the final lap. Ferrucci and Isaakyan rounded out the top eight. Meanwhile Albon could only manage ninth as Giuliano Alesi took his first ever GP3 points as Palou’s initial pace dropped away alarmingly to fall well out of the points.

GP3 – Spa-Francorchamps Race One Results

11Charles LeclercMONART Grand Prix40m06.695
29Jake DennisGBRArden International40m09.000
34Nyck De VriesNEDART Grand Prix40m22.097
45Antonio FuocoITATrident40m26.122
511Jack AitkenGBRArden International40m26.532
623Steijn SchothorstNEDCampos Racing40m28.114
726Santino FerrucciUSADAMS40m31.032
816Matevos IsaakyanRUSKoiranen GP40m35.551
93Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix40m36.771
107Giuliano AlesiFRATrident40m37.740
1128Kevin JoergSUIDAMS40m45.880
1210Tatiana CalderonCOLArden International40m47.816
136Arthur JanoszPOLTrident40m49.059
1422Alex PalouESPCampos Racing40m54.817
1519Oscar TunjoCOLJenzer Motorsport41m05.880
1624Konstantin TereschenkoRUSCampos Racing41m19.445
1718Akash NandyMASJenzer Motorsport41m22.385
RET8Sandy StuvikTHATridentRetried
RET17Niko KariFINKoiranen GPRetried
RET2Nirei FukuzumiJPNART Grand PrixRetried
RET14Matt ParryGBRKoiranen GPRetried
RET27Jake HughesGBRDAMSRetried
RET20Arjun MainiINDJenzer MotorsportRetried