British star Dean Stoneman carved up the opposition in today’s qualifying for Round 8 of the 2014 GP3 Series season. The Koiranen GP ace produced a lap almost half a second quicker than his nearest rival to clock his debut pole position. ART Grand Prix’s Alex Fontana and Marvin Kirchhöfer were second and third whilst Series leader Alex Lynn will start in eighth.
The thirty minute session commenced in warm temperatures and clear skies with Stoneman heading the pack early on and making his intentions for pole clear to the field. Lynn ran wide early on in the session when he was on a hot lap with Richie Stanaway (Status Grand Prix) stealing provisional pole from Stoneman, the first driver to lap in the 1m52’s.
At the midway point of the session, Lynn was down in P22 with Koiranen GP’s Jimmy Eriksson a place further back but the duo soon recorded quick laps to move up into the top five, with Carlin and Red Bull Junior driver Lynn posting the second fastest time behind Fontana.
The drivers returned to the pits for a new set of Pirelli tyres with the pressure building in the fight for pole. Stoneman shot back to the head of the timesheet with Kirchhöfer up to second, before Fontana demoted the Brit. However, Stoneman wasn’t going to settle for second today and posted a blinding laptime of 1:51.715 to reclaim pole position.
The chequered flag marked the end of the session but all eyes were on Lynn as he lit the first sector in purple and equalled the fastest middle sector. Unfortunately for the Brit, Lynn locked up and lost vital time, thus deciding to pit, not completing his lap.
Stoneman will head the front row of Race 1 with Fontana alongside him. ART GP lock-out the second row with Kirchhöfer and Dino Zamparelli, with Eriksson, Stanaway, Kevin Ceccon, Lynn, Patric Niederhauser and Emil Bernstorff finalising the top ten positions.
The 17 lap opening race takes place in just a few hours, at 13:40 local time as the quest for supremacy continues. The battle for the Series has become even more intense – a champion could be crowned today – don’t miss it!
Qualifying – Sochi
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Dean Stoneman Koiranen GP 1:51.715 11
2. Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix 1:52.204 13
3. Marvin Kirchhöfer ART Grand Prix 1:52.208 12
4. Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix 1:52.288 12
5. Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 1:52.388 12
6. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:52.476 13
7. Kevin Ceccon Jenzer Motorsport 1:52.499 13
8. Alex Lynn Carlin 1:52.506 12
9. Patric Niederhauser Arden International 1:52.527 14
10. Emil Bernstorff Carlin 1:52.537 14
11. Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix 1:52.607 12
12. Jann Mardenborough Arden International 1:52.906 13
13. Mathéo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 1:52.981 14
14. Robert Visoiu Arden International 1:53.019 15
15. Riccardo Agostini Hilmer Motorsport 1:53.151 14
16. Mitch Gilbert Trident 1:53.190 12
17. Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 1:53.193 15
q Patrick Kujala Trident 1:53.386 13
19 Alfonso Celis. Jr Status Grand Prix 1:53.693 14
20. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 1:53.742 14
21. Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP 1:53.744 14
22. Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport 1:54.191 14
23. Nikolay Martsenko Hilmer Motorsport 1:54.700 14