Weighbridge penalty ruins Stanaway’s Sochi GP3 opener as Stoneman dominates

Autosport

Dean Stoneman claimed a comfortable victory in the first GP3 race in Russia as he led from lights to flag at the Sochi Autodrom.

Stoneman, who switched from the absent Marussia Manor team to Koiranen prior to this weekend’s race, was unchallenged throughout as he took his fourth win of the campaign, as well as the bonus points for fastest lap.

ART drivers completed the podium, with Marvin Kirchhöfer in second and Alex Fontana third.

Stoneman eased away from pole position while Kirchhöfer slotted into second, ahead of slow-starting team-mate Fontana and fellow Koiranen driver Jimmy Eriksson.

A large gap opened up to fifth-placed Kevin Ceccon after a frantic first lap in which drivers continually exchanged positions, before matters settled down.

Stoneman quickly stamped his authority on the race by pulling out a gap over Kirchhöfer, who in turn held Fontana at arm’s length as the quartet at the front all spread out.

Stoneman eventually won by 1.8 seconds after backing off towards the finish, ahead of Kirchhöfer, Fontana and Eriksson.

The closest battle on track was for fifth and it was eventually settled in Ceccon’s favour as he held on to the position, ahead of Jann Mardenborough, series leader Alex Lynn and Patric Niederhauser.

Nick Yelloly and Pål Varhaug completed the top 10, while title contender Richie Stanaway was only 12th after he was forced to start from the pit lane due to missing the weighbridge in qualifying.

Dino Zamparelli and Emil Bernstorff made contact under braking for Turn 2, causing terminal damage to the front of the Carlin. Zamparelli was deemed the guilty party and copped a drive-through penalty.

Weighbridge penalty ruins Stanaway’s Sochi GP3 opener as Stoneman dominates

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