“Kirchhöfer scores first cool GP3 victory”

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

Marvin Kirchhöfer scored his first GP3 Series victory this evening, mere hours after securing his maiden pole position.

The German racer also scored the fastest lap of the eighteen-lap race, with the bonus points helping Kirchhöfer into 3rd in the championship stakes.

Series leader Alex Lynn took a reasonably comfortable 2nd position ahead of the new podium regular Emil Bernstorff.

Although Lynn maintained close proximity throughout, Kirchhöfer rarely appeared threatened under the tough Hockenheim heat.
With a clean start, the ART Grand Prix racer held the lead at just over one second for the opening two-thirds of the race, before extending the gap to almost four seconds during the final six tours.

Bernstorff held on to the leading pair admirably, with the Carlin man finishing just 4.4s down on the eventual victor.

Despite a track temperature that hovered around the 50°C, the tyres largely held intact, promoting something of static race in the higher order. With the frontrunners generally holding a set pace, few overtaking opportunities were presented.

Behind the front three, Nick Yelloly finished 4th, having been past by Bernstorff off the line, but could not keep with the tougher pace. The race was less profitable for Dino Zamparelli, whose pace collapsed in the final two laps, leading to Dean Stoneman to slip by into 5th before the flag.
Title challenger Jimmy Eriksson drove a solid race to 7th, gaining three places during the eighteen laps, including two off the line. The Swede had the next position handed to him by an errant Mathéo Tuscher, who momentarily fell off the circuit on the twelfth tour.

Tusher’s made a second error on the following lap, allowing Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough in the frame.
By this point, the charging Mardenborough had already made moves on Luis Sá Silva (lap 7), Mitch Gilbert (lap 8), Robert Visoiu (lap 13) and Richie Stanaway (lap 15), before taking Riccardo Agostini two laps from the end. Mardenborough’s late burst also gives him reverse grid pole for the Sunday morning Race Two.
Agostini hung on to claim 9th, while Visoiu passed Stanaway three laps from the end to make sure of the last points paying position.

While he would have certainly appreciated the victory, the result does give Lynn an extra advantage over Eriksson in the points standings, with the Briton leading by a solid twenty scores.

The race was not without other action. Alfonso Celis Jr and Ryan Cullen clashed on the 2nd lap at the hairpin – Celis Jr received a three-place grid penalty as a result. Also Sebastian Balthasar made silly contact with Nelson Mason, also in the hairpin, three laps from the end.

However Kirchhöfer is beginning to hit his stride and the German F3 champion, so confident of his own skills, may eventually become a championship challenger yet.

2014 GP3 Series Round of Germany (Rd 4, Race 1, 18 laps)
Pos  Driver               Team        Time/Gap
 1.  Marvin Kirchhofer    ART       27m47.577s
 2.  Alex Lynn            Carlin       +3.359s
 3.  Emil Bernstorff      Carlin       +4.459s
 4.  Nick Yelloly         Status       +9.770s
 5.  Dean Stoneman        Manor       +12.928s
 6.  Dino Zamparelli      ART         +14.922s
 7.  Jimmy Eriksson       Koiranen    +16.702s
 8.  Jann Mardenborough   Arden       +17.173s
 9.  Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer      +18.231s
10.  Robert Visoiu        Arden       +18.752s
11.  Alex Fontana         ART         +20.483s
12.  Patric Niederhauser  Arden       +29.000s
13.  Richie Stanaway      Status      +29.462s
14.  Mitch Gilbert        Trident     +29.672s
15.  Adderly Fong         Jenzer      +29.873s
16.  NelsonMason          Hilmer      +32.628s
17.  Luis Sa Silva        Carlin      +36.620s
18.  Matheo Tuscher       Jenzer      +37.224s
19.  Pal Varhaug          Jenzer      +37.444s
20.  Ryan Cullen          Manor       +37.635s
21.  Roman de Beer        Trident     +41.959s
22.  Santiago Urrutia     Koiranen    +46.976s
23.  Victor Carbone       Trident     +47.277s
24.  Sebastian Balthasar  Hilmer    +1m22.062s
     Patrick Kujala       Manor        +2 laps
     Carmen Jorda         Koiranen    +11 laps
     Alfonso Celis Jr     Status       +17 laps
© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

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