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“Vainio and Stockinger take maiden GP3 wins in Monaco”

June 1, 2012

© GP3 Media Services.

Aaro Vainio and Marlon Stockinger made the most of GP3’s first foray to Monaco last weekend – although the headlines thereafter spoke mainly of wreckage and processions.

With the loss of the Turkish Grand Prix, the GP3 Series a 2012 season that was shy one race weekend from previous seasons.

After much discussion and negotiating, GP3 secured a slot over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend to act as support alongside GP2 and the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

While GP3 lacked the thrill of the top level category’s, it certainly provided some unique entertainment in the principality.

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TV Notes
Race One (May 25th)
A sublime drive from Finland’s Aaro Vainio ensured a first GP3 win for the Lotus driver on the streets of Monte Carlo. Poleman Vainio* saw off the challenge of Tamas Pa’l Kiss to lead every lap – holding a three-second advantage for the most part – although the Finn never truly looked under pressure.

Starting 3rd, Pa’l Kiss jumped Ocean Racing Technology’s Kevin Ceccon into St Devote in frantic opening tour, with the field settling into an uninterrupted order thereafter. For his troubles, Ceccon drove a quiet race to 3rd, garnering his first podium of the season.

MW Arden’s David Fumanelli led a loose six-car train over the line when he claimed 4th spot. The Italian spent the entire running fending off the aggressive intentions of teammate Mitch Evans (5th), while Daniel Abt (Lotus, 6th), Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin, 7th), Marlon Stockinger (Status GP, 8th) and Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor, 9th) bit at the heels.
Alex Brundle held Status GP rookie Alice Powell at bay to secure the final point for Carlin.

It was a forgettable day for Conor Daly, who damaged his front wing in turn one contact after jumping the start, enduring both a drive through penalty and an extra stop for repairs. Both Ethan Ringel and Patric Niederhauser retired following contact with the barriers.

* {note 1}
Vainio also claimed pole position in another split qualifying session. The Finn took advantage of a quicker “Group 2” session to line up ahead of Ceccon and Pa’l Kiss.
Neither Carmen Jorda nor Matias Laine set a time within 107% of pole; however both were allowed to start after setting acceptable times in Free Practice.

2012 GP3 Round of Monaco (Rd 2, Race 1, 18 laps)
Pos  Driver                  Team          Time/Gap 
 1.  Aaro Vainio             Lotus       27m06.685s 
 2.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Atech CRS     + 1.994s 
 3.  Kevin Ceccon            Ocean        + 10.519s 
 4.  David Fumanelli         MW Arden     + 16.156s 
 5.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden     + 17.789s 
 6.  Daniel Abt              Lotus        + 18.169s 
 7.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin       + 18.548s 
 8.  Marlon Stockinger       Status       + 20.440s 
 9.  Tio Ellinas             Manor        + 20.733s 
10.  Alex Brundle            Carlin       + 25.083s 
11.  Alice Powell            Status       + 26.084s 
12.  Will Buller             Carlin       + 29.591s 
13.  Kotaro Sakurai          Status       + 31.319s 
14.  Robert Visoiu           Jenzer       + 31.612s 
15.  Fabiano Machado         Manor        + 34.249s 
16.  Dimitry Suranovich      Manor        + 34.851s 
17.  John Wartique           Atech CRS    + 47.648s 
18.  Robert Cregan           Ocean        + 57.033s 
19.  Vicky Piria             Trident      + 59.726s 
20.  Antonio Spavone         Trident    + 1m00.765s 
21.  Matias Laine            MW Arden   + 1m02.454s 
22.  Jakub Klasterka         Jenzer     + 1m03.565s  
Retirements:
     Conor Daly              Lotus          17 laps 
     Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer          8 laps 
     Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS       8 laps 
     Carmen Jorda            Ocean           5 laps

Race Two (May 26th)
Marlon Stockinger took the spoils in a shortened GP3 race in Monaco. The Filipino led every lap in an event punctuated by two shocking accidents, one of which came perilously close to garnering unwelcome headlines for the sport.

The first incident occurred as the field negotiated the opening turn. As the field drew into St Devote, Alice Powell threw her Status GP machine down the inside of the turn, glancing wheels with Carlin’s Alex Brundle, who nudged teammate Will Buller – in the outside lane – as a result.
The violence of the contact pitched Buller into a roll, with the top of his car slamming the Armco barrier. Brundle ventured a few metres before pulling off with a broken wheel, while Powell was forced to pit to repair damage.
Buller’s wreck – upside down and requiring attention – forced the safety car to emerge for two laps.

Meanwhile, Stockinger led from Antonio Felix da Costa for the duration of fast running, although the Portuguese racer struggled to get close enough to force the issue. It was a similar issue to Daniel Abt in the final podium spot, as the race became a long line of cars unable to overtake.
In a direct swap from race one, Mitch Evans held MW Arden teammate David Fumanelli at bay for 4th and 5th respectively, while Kevin Ceccon, (ORT, 6th), Aaro Vainio (Lotus, 7th) and Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor, 8th) secured the final points.

The race was neutralised on lap 11 when a huge accident between Conor Daly and Dmitry Suranovich vaulted Daly into the catch fencing at the Nouvelle chicane.
It was the second contact between the pair – a clash two laps earlier left Suranovich with no rear wing, while Daly endured a broken front wing. Suranovich weaved excessively in his attempts to keep Daly back, but the Russian swiped across the circuit once too often, instigating a crash of supreme violence.
Up until his accident, Daly had made great strides through the field. Gaining nine places off the start, the American took Vicky Piria on lap 4 and Robert Cregan on the following tour to bring him into his battle with Suranovich. The Russian – who had continued on after the clash – was later disqualified and may yet still face further sanctions.

With the catch fencing and the poles that hold it in place destroyed, the red flag was unfolded, bringing the race to an early end.

2012 GP3 Round of Monaco (Rd 2, Race 2, 13 laps)
Pos  Driver                  Team          Time/Gap 
 1.  Marlon Stockinger       Status      21m37.673s 
 2.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin        + 0.687s 
 3.  Daniel Abt              Lotus         + 1.820s 
 4.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden      + 2.685s 
 5.  David Fumanelli         MW Arden      + 3.651s 
 6.  Kevin Ceccon            Ocean         + 5.337s 
 7.  Aaro Vainio             Lotus         + 6.266s 
 8.  Tio Ellinas             Manor         + 7.090s 
 9.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Atech CRS     + 7.762s 
10.  Robert Visoiu           Jenzer        + 9.055s 
DSQ. Dimitry Suranovich      Manor      + 1m10.884s* 
11.  Robert Cregan           Ocean      + 1m11.405s 
12.  Vicky Piria             Trident    + 1m12.105s 
13.  John Wartique           Atech CRS  + 1m12.710s 
14.  Antonio Spavone         Trident    + 1m13.514s 
15.  Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer     + 1m14.329s 
16.  Matias Laine            MW Arden   + 1m15.267s 
17.  Fabiano Machado         Manor      + 1m16.582s 
18.  Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS  + 1m17.725s 
19.  Jakub Klasterka         Jenzer     + 1m18.420s 
20.  Kotaro Sakurai          Status     + 1m19.123s 
21.  Carmen Jorda            Ocean      + 1m19.910s 
22.  Alice Powell            Status     + 1m20.504s  
Retirements: 
     Conor Daly              Lotus          10 laps 
     Alex Brundle            Carlin          0 laps 
     Will Buller             Carlin          0 laps
2012 GP3 Series Points Standings
Drivers’ Championship
Pos Driver Points
 1. Aaro Vainio             54
 2. Mitch Evans             43
 3. Marlon Stockinger       39
 4. Antonio Felix da Costa  24
 5. Conor Daly              23
 6. Kevin Ceccon            23
 7. Daniel Abt              22
 8. Matias Laine            20
 9. David Fumanelli         20
10. Patric Niederhauser     20

Teams’ Championship
Pos Team Points
 1. Lotus                   99
 2. MW Arden                83
 3. Status GP               39
 4. Jenzer                  36
 5. Carlin                  27
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