Perfection for German rookie Marvin Kirchhöfer – the ART Grand Prix driver celebrated his debut pole position early today and followed it up with a fantastic lights to flag victory in GP3 Race 1, holding off the Carlin duo of Alex Lynn and Emil Bernstorff. To top it off, Kirchhöfer produced his career best result at his home race in Germany in front of his fans.
Temperatures rocketed for the Round 4 of the 2014 GP3 Series at Hockenheim with the 27 drivers contending with challenging conditions with the immense heat. Kirchhöfer embraced the pressure as pole-sitter and made a strong start to maintain the lead. Lynn followed the German ace, with Bernstorff stealing a place off Nick Yelloly (Status Grand Prix) early on in lap one.
Series contender Jimmy Eriksson (Koiranen GP) who had a five place grid penalty found himself in the middle of the pack and made light contact with Matheo Tuscher (Jenzer Motorsport) – both were able to continue as they hustled their machines round on a hectic first few laps.
It was an early finish for Alfonso Celis. Jr (Status Grand Prix) after it appeared he had been tagged from behind from the Marussia Manor Racing car of Ryan Cullen. The Mexican was unable to continue. Kirchhöfer held a small margin of 1.2s over Lynn at the beginning of proceedings but the Red Bull Junior driver began to reel him in and cut down the gap to under a second, with the top three glued together.
Dean Stoneman found himself going forward, the Brit making an excellent start up to P6 and he was embroiled in a titanic tussle with Tuscher. The two diced wheel to wheel but it was Stoneman who made the move stick and held the position.
Bernstorff ran wide at the midway point of the race, losing a small amount of time to Lynn and nearer the clutches of Yelloly in P4. Tuscher began to struggle with his tyres and Eriksson and Richie Stanaway (Status Grand Prix) took advantage of the Swiss rookie to move up the order. The battle was on for P8 and the elusive reverse pole for Race 2 and Riccardo Agostini put the pressure on Stanaway. The pair made contact but both were able to continue with the Italian sneaking past the Kiwi.
Kirchhöfer held a commanding lead at the front and edged out the gap to over three seconds. On the final lap Stoneman grabbed P5 after overtaking Dino Zamparelli (ART Grand Prix).
After a calm and controlled race, Kirchhöfer crossed the line to record his first win in his rookie GP3 season, ahead of Red Bull Junior driver Lynn who pocketed further vital points in his quest for the championship. Bernstorff posted another rostrum finish ahead of Yelloly, Stoneman, Zamparelli, Eriksson, Jann Mardenborough, Agostini and Robert Visoiu (Arden International). Romanian driver Visoiu scored his first point of the 2014 campaign today.
Lynn has extended his Series lead to 20 points over Eriksson, whilst new race winner Kirchhöfer moves up to third place in the Drivers’ Standings. Carlin have increased their margin at the head of the Teams’ Standings too, the British squad have 181 points, with Status Grand Prix and ART Grand Prix on 118 and 113 respectively.
Mardenborough will start tomorrow’s GP3 Race 2 from reverse pole – the race action kicks off at 09.25 am with tyre degradation key to how the race will progress.
Hockenheim – Race 1
1. Marvin Kirchhöfer ART Grand Prix
2. Alex Lynn Carlin
3. Emil Bernstorff Carlin
4. Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix
5. Dean Stoneman Marussia Manor Racing
6. Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix
7. Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP
8. Jann Mardenborough Arden International
9. Riccardo Agostini Hilmer Motorsport
10. Robert Visoiu Arden International
11. Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix
12. Patric Niederhauser Arden International
13. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix
14. Mitchell Gilbert Trident
15. Adderly Fong Jenzer Motorsport
16. Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport
17. Luis Sa Silva Carlin
18. Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport
19. Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport
20. Ryan Cullen Marussia Manor Racing
21. Roman De Beer Trident
22. Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP
23. Victor Carbone Trident
24. Sebastian Balthasar Hilmer Motorsport
25. Patrick Kujala Marussia Manor Racing
Fastest Lap : Marvin Kirchhöfer (ART Grand Prix) : 1 :31.521 on lap 12
Carmen Jorda Koiranen GP
Alfonso Celis. Jr Status Grand Prix