“Vainio takes tense GP3 sprint race at Barcelona”

Victory for Vainio. © Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service.
Victory for Vainio. © Malcolm Griffiths/GP3 Media Service.

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
     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

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