Robert Visoiu took his first GP3 Series win of the season following a dominant performance at the Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.
The Romanian initially headed Aaro Vainio by just over two seconds, until he began pulling away aggressively in the latter tours.
An amalgamation of improved pace from Visoiu and Vainio’s destroyed tyres helped extend the gap between the pair by a further five seconds in the final four laps, ensuring Visoiu had a 7.7s advantage at the end.
For the MW Arden racer, the getaway was the key to victory. “The start was really good for me. I got a little bit of distance on the first lap and because of this I could control the tyre degradation. I wasn’t pushing and at the end of the race, the tyres were just like they were in the beginning and the pace was really good.”
Visoiu also realised how close he came to not winning this race, having only passed Dino Zamparelli for reverse grid pole on the final lap of race one this morning. “I’ve finished ninth in race one twice already this year. It’s the worst feeling in the world, I’d rather crash than finish ninth again!”
Meanwhile, where Vainio could do little about Visoiu, the Finn launched into the defensive as first Tio Ellinas pressed for 2nd place, but when the Cypriot ran wide, Sainz Jr picked up the baton. “The start was not the best and then I saw Carlos coming and I went right, defending my place and after that Carlos went back to the left and he backed off,” revealed Vainio.
Adding to that though, Sainz Jr commented, “If the track was a bit wider, I could maybe have made a move on Aaro and luckily did with Tio [Ellinas].”
The Finn drew away from Sainz as the race aged, but a mid-race lock-up almost unravelled his race. “First, I could keep up with [Visoiu], but at midway, I had one lock up at turn nine and after that it was a big struggle, especially with the rear tyres. In the last five laps, I could see Carlos coming and in the last two laps had to defend pretty hard.”
Sainz Jr closed to within half-a-second, but the Spaniard left his attack just a touch too late to make a move for the 2nd spot. “I saw Aaro struggling on his tyres in the last few laps, at which I though ‘now is the time to go’,” said the MW Arden man.
However, considering his starting position from this morning’s opening event, Sainz Jr was relieved to at least claim a podium. “The team made a massive step forward from Barcelona to here – as you can see with Robert and I on the podium. We had great pace in race one, but were a bit conditioned from a bad qualifying, due to red flags and traffic. I can go home thinking positive.”
After losing out to Sainz Jr in the opening corners, Ellinas kept hold of 4th, despite pressure from Daniil Kvyat (5th). In the distance, the podium winners from this morning’s race finished line astern, with Kevin Korjus leading Facu Regalia and Conor Daly to a 6th, 7th and 8th place result.
A poor start dropped Nick Yelloly to 14th; however the Englishman rose to 9th by the end following moves on Jack Harvey, Alex Fontana and Zamparelli. Melville McKee and Patric Niederhauser encountered problems that dropped them out of the running.
With that Ellinas retakes the points lead from Daly; however both are still some distance ahead of Korjus and Vainio. The third round comes from Silverstone in two weeks at a circuit and conditions that may produce some very different results.
2013 GP3 Series round of Valencia (Rd 2, Race 2; 18 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Robert Visoiu MW Arden 25:50.517s 2. Aaro Vainio Koiranen + 7.784s 3. Carlos Sainz MW Arden + 7.920s 4. Tio Ellinas Manor + 8.572s 5. Daniil Kyvat MW Arden + 9.017s 6. Kevin Korjus Koiranen +23.961s 7. Facu Regalia ART +24.472s 8. Conor Daly ART +24.768s 9. Nick Yelloly Carlin +25.164s 10. Dino Zamparelli Manor +26.566s 11. Alex Fontana Jenzer +26.719s 12. Jack Harvey ART +27.648s 13. Giovanni Venturini Trident +27.779s 14. Emanuele Zonzini Trident +28.116s 15. Patrick Kujala Koiranen +35.495s 16. Jimmy Eriksson Status +36.183s 17. Lewis Williamson Bamboo +38.816s 18. Josh Webster Status +38.982s 19. Samin Gomez Jenzer +39.244s 20. Ryan Cullen Manor +50.937s 21. Carmen Jorda Bamboo +55.029s 22. Luis Sa Silva Carlin +1 lap Retirements: Melville McKee Bamboo +8 laps Patric Niederhauser Jenzer +9 laps Eric Lichtenstein Carlin +17 laps Adderly Fong Status +18 laps David Fumanelli Trident +18 laps
2013 GP3 Series points standings (Rd 2, Race 2) Drivers' Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Tio Ellinas 55 2. Conor Daly 51 3. Aaro Vainio 43 4. Kevin Korjus 37 5. Patric Niederhauser 28 6. Carlos Sainz Jr 22 7. Robert Visoiu 21 8. Facu Regalia 20 9. Daniil Kvyat 20 10. Jack Harvey 13 Teams' Championship Pos Team Points 1. ART Grand Prix 84 2. Koiranen GP 80 3. MW Arden 63 4. Marussia Manor 57 5. Jenzer Motorsport 29