“Ellinas triumphs in frantic GP3 opener (updated)”

© Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service.
© Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service.

Tio Ellinas claimed a frantic victory in the opening GP3 race of the season at Barcelona today.

With shot tyres, the Cypriot barely held Patric Niederhauser and Conor Daly at bay in the final laps, as the trio finished covered only by nine-tenths.

Knowing the tyres may go off quickly, Ellinas surged into an early banker lead, heading Niederhauser by 3.8 seconds after six laps.
The gap hovered at that for a few tours, before Ellinas’ Pirelli’s gave way, allowing Niederhauser to close the gap, yet Niederhauser too was struggling for grip, making the attack as difficult as the defence and contributing somewhat to his finishing 2nd, just 0.428s behind Ellinas.

As laptimes fell from the 1:37’s to 1:41’s late on, the conservative Daly closed in, taking over six seconds from the leading pair in the final four laps; however the American ran out of time, closing to within 0.94s of Ellinas as the chequered flag flew.

In the pack, the action was coming thick and fast, as drivers up to ten drivers slipped in and out of various tyre wear phases.
From there, Carlin’s Nick Yelloly was next to the flag, coming in a healthy 4th. The Englishman lost bucket loads of time behind MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat – seemingly the first to feel the pain of destroyed Pirelli’s – as did several members of the pack behind him, including Aaro Vainio (5th), who in turn enjoyed a solid gap to Jack Harvey (6th) and David Fumanelli (7th).
Kevin Korjus recovered from qualifying penalty somewhat to finish 8th, taking the reverse grid pole. The Estonian led a large train of cars across the line, with Robert Visoiu, Alex Fontana, Lewis Williamson and Giovanni Venturini all just missing out on the prized 8th place.

Dino Zamparelli takes a grid penalty into tomorrow’s race, ensuring he starts from last place. In an attempt to overtake Korjus, the Anglo-Italian collided with the Koiranen racer two laps from the end, with Zamparelli retiring there and then – as noted, Korjus continued to 8th spot.

By the end of the race, Kvyat came home 20th, with just the backmarker group of Ryan Cullen, Carmen Jorda and Adderly Fong behind.
Kvyat’s tyres began to give up as early as lap five and by the end of 17, the Russian was dropping close to eight seconds per lap to the leaders. It marks a new age for GP3 and it appears conservation is the key to success – whether drivers like it or not.

2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 1; 17 laps)
Pos  Driver               Team          Time/Gap
 1.  Tio Ellinas          Manor       28m06.022s
 2.  Patric Niederhauser  Jenzer        + 0.428s
 3.  Conor Daly           ART           + 0.940s
 4.  Nick Yelloly         Carlin        + 9.726s
 5.  Aaro Vainio          Koiranen     + 16.925s
 6.  Jack Harvey          ART          + 23.006s
 7.  David Fumanelli      Trident      + 23.572s
 8.  Kevin Korjus         Koiranen     + 28.615s
 9.  Robert Visoiu        MW Arden     + 29.053s
10.  Alex Fontana         Jenzer       + 29.426s
11.  Lewis Williamson     Bamboo       + 29.669s
12.  Giovanni Venturini   Trident      + 30.832s
13.  Luis Sa Silva        Carlin       + 37.044s
14.  Melville McKee       Bamboo       + 37.277s
15.  Carlos Sainz Jr      MW Arden     + 51.669s
16.  Samin Gomez          Jenzer       + 51.949s
17.  Emanuele Zonzini     Trident      + 52.325s
18.  Eric Lichtenstein    Carlin       + 52.759s
19.  Jimmy Eriksson       Status       + 53.858s
20.  Daniil Kvyat         MW Arden   + 1m08.691s
21.  Ryan Cullen          Manor      + 1m09.967s
22.  Carmen Jorda         Bamboo     + 1m10.626s
23.  Adderly Fong         Status     + 1m14.398s
24.  Facu Regalia         ART           + 2 laps
     Dino Zamparelli      Manor          +3 laps
     Patrick Kujala       Koiranen       +7 laps
     Josh Webster         Status        +11 laps
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 1)
Pos Driver                Points
 1. Tio Ellinas           31
 2. Patric Niederhauser   18
 3. Conor Daly            15
 4. Nick Yelloly          12
 5. Aaro Vainio           10
 6. Jack Harvey            8
 7. David Fumanelli        6
 8. Kevin Korjus           4
 9. Robert Visoiu          2
10. Alex Fontana           1

Pos Team                  Points
 1. Marussia Manor        31
 2. ART Grand Prix        23
 3. Jenzer Motorsport     19
 4. Koiranen GP           14
 5. Carlin                12

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