Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service
Tio Ellinas got his GP3 title bid off to the best possible start by winning the first race of the season from pole-position, fighting off intense pressure from rival Patric Niederhauser in the final laps.
The Marussia Manor driver got a great start and quickly opened up a good lead over Niederhauser, going as far as 3.8 seconds clear at one stage. Niederhauser then brought the gap back down to nothing with three laps left, but Ellinas managed to stay ahead despite having no life left in his tyres. Conor Daly also managed to close on the duo and finished on their tail in third.
The other story of the race was Daniil Kvyat?s struggles with the tyres. The Russian enjoyed a good start and got past Nick Yelloly for fourth on the first lap but quickly overused his tyres keeping the Brit behind. Yelloly eventually got past on lap nine and Kvyat began plummeting down the order, finishing all the way down in 20th place. Fellow Red Bull Junior Carlos Sainz had similar problems and finished where he started in 15th.
Aaro Vainio finished fifth for newcomers Koiranen GP, ahead of British F3 champion Jack Harvey.
Facu Regalia had been racing his ART team-mate Harvey during the early laps, but had to take avoiding action when Kevin Korjus, the fastest man in qualifying, locked up at turn ten. David Fumanelli capitalised to overtake both of them and finish up seventh, with Korjus coming home in eighth place and securing pole position for Sunday?s race after a penalty prevented him taking up first place on the grid for the first.
Dino Zamparelli had been having a strong race and was looking to pass Korjus for eighth before locking up himself and hitting the Estonian and finishing up in the gravel. Robert Visoiu inherited ninth with Alex Fontana in tenth.
|1||Tio Ellinas||Marussia Manor Racing||17 laps 28:06.022|
|2||Patric Niederhauser||Jenzer Motorsport||+0.428|
|3||Conor Daly||ART Grand Prix||+0.940|
|5||Aaro Vainio||Koiranen GP||+16.925|
|6||Jack Harvey||ART Grand Prix||+23.006|
|8||Kevin Korjus||Koiranen GP||+28.615|
|9||Robert Visoiu||MW Arden||+29.053|
|10||Alex Fontana||Jenzer Motorsport||+29.426|
|11||Lewis Williamson||Bamboo Engineering||+29.669|
|13||Luis Sa Silva||Carlin||+37.044|
|14||Melville McKee||Bamboo Engineering||+37.277|
|15||Carlos Sainz Jr||MW Arden||+51.699|
|16||Samin Gomez||Jenzer Motorsport||+51.949|
|19||Jimmy Eriksson||Status Grand Prix||+53.858|
|20||Daniil Kvyat||MW Arden||+68.961|
|21||Ryan Cullen||Marussia Manor Racing||+69.967|
|22||Carmen Jorda||Bamboo Engineering||+70.828|
|23||Adderly Fong||Status Grand Prix||+74.398|
|24||Facu Regalia||ART Grand Prix||+ 2 laps|
|Dino Zamparelli||Marussia Manor Racing||14 laps|
|Patrick Kujala||Koiranen GP||10 laps|
|Josh Webster||Status Grand Prix||6 laps|