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Dean Stoneman claims Sochi victory in first race after team switch

by Peter Allen
Dean Stoneman

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service

Dean Stoneman completed a perfect day in Sochi as he cruised to victory in the first GP3 race after his change of teams.

Moving to Koiranen after Marussia Manor withdrew from the trip to Russia due to commercial reasons, Stoneman claimed a dominant pole in the morning by nearly half a second, and he made a good start to the race to lead what was a frantic opening lap behind him.

Stoneman moved up to three seconds clear of second-placed Marvin Kirchhofer and showed he had pace in hand as he set the fastest lap on the penultimate lap before cruising to a 1.8-second win.

Alex Fontana recovered from a slow getaway from the front row of the grid to show strong pace on his way to a second podium of the season, battling with Stoneman for the lap record at the new track.

Jimmy Eriksson had a quiet run to fourth place, with Kevin Ceccon in fifth. Jann Mardenborough steered through the first-lap chaos to go from 11th to sixth, holding off pressure later in the race from championship leader Alex Lynn.

With Richie Stanaway failing to score points despite moving up to 12th from a pitlane start after he missed the weight check in qualifying, Lynn extended his championship to 52 points, with Eriksson now second, Stoneman third, Kirchhofer fourth and Stanaway down to fifth, with second to fifth covered by just four points.

Lynn will start on the front row of the grid for race two alongside Patric Niederhauser, and just needs to keep his points lead above 48 to wrap up the title before the final round.

Behind Niederhauser in eighth, Nick Yelloly and Pal Varhaug completed the top ten.

Emil Bernstorff and Robert Visoiu were eliminated in first lap incidents, with Dino Zamparelli receiving a drive-through penalty for causing Bernstorff’s demise.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Dean Stoneman Koiranen GP 15 laps in 28:45.648
2 Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix +1.812
3 Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix +4.978
4 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP +8.862
5 Kevin Ceccon Jenzer Motorsport +13.235
6 Jann Mardenborough Arden International +13.683
7 Alex Lynn Carlin +14.740
8 Patric Niederhauser Arden International +15.056
9 Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix +16.243
10 Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport +21.985
11 Riccardo Agostini Hilmer Motorsport +22.859
12 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix +24.904
13 Patrick Kujala Trident +28.005
14 Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP +34.045
15 Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport +39.097
16 Alfonso Celis Status Grand Prix +39.852
17 Luis Sa Silva Carlin +42.002
18 Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix +46.834
19 Nikolay Martsenko Hilmer Motorsport +52.299
20 Mitch Gilbert Trident +1:46.264
Not classified
Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport +11 laps
Emil Bernstorff Carlin +14 laps
Robert Visoiu Arden International +14 laps