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Ghiotto fights through to win Spa sprint

by Gruz David
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service

Luca Ghiotto extended his championship lead by winning?the reverse-grid second GP3 race at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Italian was down one spot off the line after starting in fourth, but found himself in the lead in no time, slipstreaming past?the leaders in just three laps.

Following a Saturday penalty for Jimmy Eriksson, Arden’s Alex Bosak inherited the pole position for this race.

The Polish driver’s race?was far from smooth though as he quickly dropped down the order following a poor start.

In addition, he was investigated for starting out of position but, before he could receive any sanctions, Bosak suffered a big incident at Blanchimont.

The Arden driver lost control of his car due to a seemingly contactless puncture and crashed into the wall.

During the impact, a wheel got loose and returned the to track, crossing Matt Parry‘s path and breaking the Welshman’s front suspension.

At the front, Alex Palou had been into the lead off the line, with Esteban Ocon fighting his way up to second by the end of the Kemmel straight.

The safety car, which had paid an inevitable visit after the crashes, reappeared soon after the first restart, following a collision between Marvin Kirchhofer and Antonio Fuoco.

The Italian was set to take fifth from the ART driver on the outside of Les Combes but Kirchhofer stuck to the inside line and ended up hitting Fuoco off.

Losing control of his car, Fuoco spun back to the track and hit Kirchhofer, which saw the end of the German’s race as well.

After the second restart, Ghiotto continued to make up ground. He had already been third after passing Alfonso Celis and the Italian got past Ocon with ease as well.

In the following lap, Ghiotto got ahead of Palou on Kemmel to claim the lead. He immediately pulled away from the Spaniard, who lost another position to Ocon quickly afterwards.

There was no catching Ghiotto though as the Italian cruised to the checkered flag to take his third victory of the season.

Ocon finished second, for the fifth time in a row, while the podium was completed by fellow ART driver Celis.

The Mexican, celebrating his maiden podium finish in the category, overtook the dropping Palou, who ended up fifth.

Fourth was taken by Matheo Tuscher, the Swiss completing a masterful race after starting way down the order.

Alex Fontana finished sixth, followed by Artur Janosz and Ralph Boschung.

Yesterday’s race winner Emil Bernstorff had to retire early in the race, having been hit at La Source on lap one.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Luca Ghiotto Trident 13 laps in 33:36.220
2 Esteban Ocon ART Grand Prix +0.878
3 Alfonso Celis ART Grand Prix +5.144
4 Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport +6.891
5 Alex Palou Campos Racing +7.993
6 Alex Fontana Status Grand Prix +8.348
7 Artur Janosz Trident +9.119
8 Ralph Boschung Jenzer Motorsport +11.014
9 Adderly Fong Koiranen GP +11.611
10 Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport +12.230
11 Mitch Gilbert Carlin +14.113
12 Jann Mardenborough Carlin +14.357
13 Kevin Ceccon Arden International +14.506
14 Seb Morris Status Grand Prix +14.900
15 Beitske Visser Trident +15.131
16 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP +16.008
17 Sandy Stuvik Status Grand Prix +18.795
18 Zaid Ashkanani Campos Racing +32.579
Not classified
Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix +8 laps
Antonio Fuoco Carlin +8 laps
Alex Bosak Arden International +12 laps
Matt Parry Koiranen GP +12 laps
Emil Bernstorff Arden International +12 laps