Stanaway leads Status GP 1-2
It was all smiles from the team in the eye-catching green and black: Status Grand Prix on home soil produced a fantastic one-two result last weekend in the hands of Kiwi Richie Stanaway and Brit Nick Yelloly. Carlin’s Emil Bernstorff pocketed the final spot on the rostrum. After making a good start, Stanaway was never headed and achieved his second GP3 win of his career.
In Race 1 poleman Eriksson made a good start to keep hold of his lead whilst Lynn had his mirrors full of the fast charging Jann Mardenborough (Arden International). Lynn covered his line, preventing the charge from Mardenborough on the inside whilst Marvin Kirchhöfer remained in third. Hilmer Motorsport’s Riccardo Agostini made a great start from P8 to be in fifth position on lap one behind Bernstorff.
Eriksson was quick to build an early advantage over Lynn – with a 2.5s lead in the early stages. It was an premature end for Santiago Urrutia (Koiranen GP) who made contact with Luis Sa Silva’s Carlin, the Uruguayan ended his day in the gravel whilst the Angolan driver was able to continue.
Dean Stoneman (Marussia Manor Racing) was a man on the move – after qualifying in P16, the Brit was carving through the field and fought his way into the top ten, picking off his rivals including Pal Varhaug and Patrick Kujala. During the race, the clouds thickened over and the skies became darker but the rain held off as the 15 laps ticked down. Eriksson and Lynn began to trade fastest laps and with five laps left, Lynn began to hunt down the Swede for the lead.
Kirchhöfer was a little further back in third with Bernstorff a second off the German. The battle between Yelloly and rookie Agostini closed up in the latter part of the race for fifth place but all eyes were on the duel for top spot as Lynn reeled the Koiranen GP driver in and closed the gap down to 0.3s. However, Eriksson had the race under control and pulled out the margin to the Carlin man on the final lap. The Swede drove a mature race to achieve his maiden victory, crossing the line just under a second ahead of Lynn. Kirchhöfer recorded his debut podium in GP3, in front of Bernstorff and Yelloly.
Agostini achieved his and notably Hilmer Motorsport’s first points of the 2014 campaign. Richie Stanaway, Dino Zamparelli, Mardenborough and Stoneman completed the top ten and the final points with the Arden International rookie scoring his debut points in GP3.
In Race 2 the threatening rain did not appear in front of the very enthusiastic and passionate fans at the Silverstone circuit. Cool temperatures set the scene for Race 2 and reverse pole-sitter Zamparelli bogged down at the start to end lap one in P5. Stanaway made a clean start to go into the lead but Bernstorff made a lightning getaway from fifth to move into second on the first few turns. Yelloly and Kirchhöfer held third and fourth whilst Series leaders Lynn and Eriksson dropped down several places out of the top ten.
Contact was made between Alex Fontana (ART Grand Prix) and Kujala which meant a premature end for both. Action was frenetic throughout the field as Stanaway started to build an advantage back to his Status Grand Prix teammate Yelloly. Eriksson had Lynn filling his mirrors as the duo caught the Jenzer Motorsport car of Varhaug and Arden International’s Patric Niederhauser. The Swiss driver attempted several moves to pass the Norwegian as Varhaug felt the pressure and ran wide, cutting a corner in the process. When Varhaug came back on track, Niederhauser once again pounced, this time trying a move down the inside of him and Eriksson sensed his opportunity – diving down the middle of the pair of them. Unfortunately, contact was made, with Eriksson and Niederhauser tumbling into the gravel and Varhaug suffering damage also and retiring.
This allowed some clear air for Series leader Lynn and he set his sights on Mardenborough. The Carlin driver made the move stick and was then was embroiled in a four way battle for fifth: Stoneman, Agostini, Zamparelli and Lynn was a fierce fight and it was the Italian rookie who made the first successful manoeuvre on Stoneman for P5. Zamparelli and Lynn were quick to follow suit and unluckily for Stoneman in his home race – his car began to slow and he retired after a strong race. Stanaway held a 2.6s margin over Yelloly, with a further two seconds advantage back to Bernstorff. The action wasn’t done yet with Lynn still on a charge to move up the order and on the last lap he got the better of Zamparelli for P6 to claim his first race two points of the 2014 GP3 season.
After 15 laps, Stanaway and Yelloly crossed the line and celebrated a wonderful one-two for Status Grand Prix. It was Yelloly’s first podium this year and a third rostrum appearance for Bernstorff who once again picked up vital points in the championship. Kirchhöfer came home fourth, ahead of Agostini – the Hilmer Motorsport driver posting his best result to date. Lynn, Zamparelli and Mathéo Tuscher completed the final point’s positions.
Lynn remains on top in the Drivers’ Standings with an eight point lead over Eriksson. Stanaway lies in third, 18 points off the Carlin driver, with Bernstorff and Kirchhöfer rounding out the top five. Carlin head the Teams’ Standings on 148 points, but Status Grand Prix move back into second place and close the point’s deficit. Koiranen GP are third ahead of ART Grand Prix and Marussia Manor Racing.
Six races this season and five different winners – we can expect another superb encounter for Round 4 in Hockenheim, Germany on 18-20 July in two weeks’ time.