A stellar start for Aaro Vainio helped the Finn to a welcome GP3 Series sprint race victory at Barcelona.
The Koiranen GP racer spent the duration under pressure from teammate and poleman Kevin Korjus, eventually taking the win by 1.8 seconds.
Patric Niederhauser finished completed the podium following a late move on yesterday’s race winner Tio Ellinas.
Vainio jumped from 4th on the grid to the lead before the first corner, as Korjus and fellow front row man David Fumanelli proved sluggish off the line.
A brief safety car period shortly after race start gave the drivers an opportunity to calm the wear on their Pirelli tyres; however upon the release of the green flag on lap 3, Vainio held his own.
Although Korjus rarely sat underneath the rear wing of Vainio, his presence throughout ensured the race leader could not relax; however the Finn did not panic either, as he ran to the chequered flag and full points.
Niederhauser followed yesterday’s runner-up spot with another podium, but was helped a touch when David Fumanelli removed Nick Yelloly from the action with a punt up the rear. Fumanelli would receive a 20-seacond post race penalty as a result, dropping him to 17th place.
Niederhauser, who was running 7th from the start, also moved by Conor Daly on the same lap, before driving by Yelloly’s disabled car. Fumanelli received damage making a pass on lap 13 relatively easy.
Despite a severe shortage of grip, Ellinas doggedly fought to keep Niederhauser at bay succeeding for several laps, until the Swiss pilot slotted by with three laps remaining.
Ellinas continued on to finish 4th ahead of Fumanelli; however Fumanelli’s penalty promotes Daly to 5th. Carlos Sainz Jr was next up after passing Jack Harvey for 7th on lap 14 – unfortunately Sainz Jr’s car was found to be underweight and the Spaniard was disqualified, giving Harvey 6th spot.
Lewis Williamson held off a group of cars at the flag to take 7th. The Scot spent much of the race being hounded by Giovanni Venturini (8th), Adderly Fong and Luis Sa Silva, only for the latter pair to drop away as the tyres did the same. With Fong and Sa Silva falling backward, Alex Fontana claimed 9th, just two-tenths up on Eric Lichtenstein.
There was plenty of bumping and grinding on the opening lap, as Robert Visoiu bashed the rear of Melville McKee in the turn 7/8 chicane, bringing out a two-lap safety car. Visoiu had 20 seconds added post-race in lieu of a drive through penalty.
Like yesterday, speed and consistency fell away along with the grip from the quick wearing Pirelli’s, with laps at the end some 6-7 seconds shy of early race pace; however degradation was spread evenly throughout the field.
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 2; 17 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Aaro Vainio Koiranen 28m44.420s 2. Kevin Korjus Koiranen + 1.808s 3. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer + 6.948s 4. Tio Ellinas Manor + 14.048s 5. David Fumanelli Trident + 15.234s 6. Conor Daly ART + 15.469s 7. Carlos Sainz Jr MW Arden + 16.085s 8. Jack Harvey ART + 17.853s 9. Lewis Williamson Bamboo + 20.916s 10. Giovanni Venturini Trident + 21.704s 11. Alex Fontana Jenzer + 22.088s 12. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin + 22.355s 13. Adderly Fong Status + 22.924s 14. Luis Sa Silva Carlin + 25.239s 15. Samin Gomez Jenzer + 25.419s 16. Facu Regalia ART + 25.968s 17. Dino Zamparelli Manor + 26.851s 18. Patrick Kujala Koiranen + 38.111s 19. Robert Visoiu MW Arden + 40.758s 20. Carmen Jorda Bamboo + 45.568s Retirements: Josh Webster Status 14 laps Emanuele Zonzini Trident 12 laps Nick Yelloly Carlin 12 laps Jimmy Eriksson Status 10 laps Ryan Cullen Manor 6 laps Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 5 laps Melville McKee Bamboo 0 laps
2013 GP3 Series round of Barcelona (Rd 1, Race 2) Pos Driver Points 1. Tio Ellinas 39 2. Patric Niederhauser 28 3. Aaro Vainio 25 4. Conor Daly 21 5. Kevin Korjus 18 6. Nick Yelloly 12 7. Jack Harvey 12 8. David Fumanelli 6 9. Lewis Williamson 2 10. Robert Visoiu 2 Pos Teams Points 1. Koiranen GP 43 2. Marussia Manor 39 3. ART Grand Prix 33 4. Jenzer Motorsport 29 5. Carlin 12