Nirei Fukuzumi dominated the opening race in Jerez to take his second victory of the season.
The Japanese driver was joined in the podium by ART Grand Prix team-mates George Russell and Jack Aitken.
Following qualifying yesterday Alessio Lorandi was handed a three place grid penalty after he was deemed to have impeded Leonardo Pulcini and as a result promoted Dorian Boccolacci, Niko Kari and Tatiana Calderon to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Most eyes were trained on the championship rivals of Aitken and Russell starting in second and third, Fukuzumi was determined to take the opportunity offered to him to run away with victory.
At the start Aitken got a strong getaway from second but was a little tentative into Turn 1, handing an opportunity to Russell to find a way through. The championship leader got alongside his countryman but finally muscled his way into second at Turn 3.
Having been promoted to eighth on the grid after Lorandi’s penalty Calderon suffered contact into Turn 1 and fell down the order.
Aitken, resigned to third place, now had to defend from Dan Ticktum who qualified strongly in fourth place but was unable to take advantage of DRS to overtake his fellow Briton.
Having easily shaken off any challenge posed from his team-mates Fukuzumi maintained the gap outfront to ensure Russell was not able to get into DRS range. Although even when drivers were within range they were not able to utilise it fully due to the tight, technical nature of the circuit.
In addition, a new surface on the track paired with the hard tyres meant degradation had no impact on the race and positions remained stationary with little overtaking up and down the order.
One overtake that did happen was that on the final lap between Giuliano Alesi and Lorandi. Alesi barged his way past to claim eighth and reverse grid pole for tomorrow’s race – however the stewards felt the move was too much and reinstated Lorandi to eighth and as a result awarded the Italian reverse pole.
Taking the chequered flag by 1.6 seconds over Russell who extended his title advantage over Aitken, Ticktum in fourth breaking the ART monopoly. Anthoine Hubert, held station behind the Briton all race, ahead of Kari who jumped Boccolacci at the start. Alesi had crossed the line in eighth ahead of Lorandi but their positions were switched in the stewards room. Julien Falchero completed the top ten.
2017 GP3 Series Feature Race Results – Jerez
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