Home Featured PaddockScout Awards 2014: Team of the Year

PaddockScout Awards 2014: Team of the Year

by Valentin Khorounzhiy


Koiranen GP

2013 was a big year for Finnish squad Koiranen. When Ocean Racing left GP3, Koiranen stepped up to fill their spot and enjoyed a solid first year in the series, with two wins from Aaro Vainio and third overall in the teams’ standings.

However, while they were establishing themselves in GP3, their FR2.0 form suffered and, despite a solid lineup, the first four rounds of the Eurocup season only yielded 15 points. They recovered after that, as Nyck de Vries scored five podiums in the six remaining races, but it was only good enough for sixth overall ? the team’s worst result since 2006.

For 2014, de Vries returned for a second season and was placed in both Alps and Eurocup, with a clear goal to take two titles. In the latter, he was partnered by ex-KTR man and race winner Ignazio D’Agosto as well as Toyota Racing Series double champion Nick Cassidy, making for a killer lineup. Meanwhile, in Alps, they poached karting star George Russell away from a deal with reigning champions Prema.

What followed was not much of a surprise. De Vries was unstoppable, finishing off the podium only six times in the 28 races of the two combined championships. He won both with ease and by margins of more than 100 points.

Eurocup D’Agosto and Cassidy couldn’t hope to match that ? the Italian was on the podium twice, but only finished tenth overall, while the Kiwi’s rookie campaign ended with him in 18th. But it didn’t matter ? the Dutchman’s points haul alone would have been enough to clinch the teams’ title for Koiranen.

Russell, meanwhile, was solid in the Alps, finishing in a clear fourth place and helping the team ease to another championship.

At the same time, after the foundations were laid last season, Koiranen’s GP3 squad continued to figure at the front. Jimmy Eriksson, who struggled with Status in 2013, was a great signing, contending with eventual champion Alex Lynn early on before losing ground due to bad luck and mistakes.

Promising rookie Santiago Urrutia found his debut season rather tough, failing to score points and even enduring rumored contract disputes. The other car, driven by Carmen Jorda, was also pointless until it was handed over to Dean Stoneman with two rounds to go, after which the Brit promptly won both the remaining feature races to demonstrate the pace of the Koiranen package.

For 2015, Koiranen have already confirmed two Eurocup rookies in De Pasquale and Hughes. They’ll remain in Alps and GP3 as well, while also running an F4 championship for the Northern European Zone.

Valentin Khorounzhiy

Next: Nomination 4