Italian wins from pole, Briton grabs drivers’ title

 

Alessio Lorandi has claimed his first GP3 Series win with a strong race from pole to flag in this morning’s Race 2 at the Circuito de Jerez, leading home Dorian Boccolacci and Niko Kari, while behind them George Russell brought home enough points to become the 2017 GP3 Series Champion with one round remaining in the season.

 

The sunny and warm conditions enjoyed by the teams all weekend continued as the drivers went out to form the grid, and when the lights went out Lorandi got away well and easily contained Boccolacci and Kari into turn 1: the trio ran together all the way round the circuit before the Italian started to build a small but significant gap to his rivals as Anthoine Hubert and Dan Ticktum started to close, with the Frenchman running wide on lap 2 to clear a path into P4 for the Briton.

 

If the leaders were focused on their shot at victory, all other eyes were on the fight for the title: Russell started behind Jack Aitken but forced his way past at Dry Sac, with the Renault junior driver running slightly wide at the exit and allowing Nirei Fukuzumi to run through too. When Russell grabbed the fastest lap the potential points difference was 47, 1 short of a title confirmation, but with Giuliano Alesi just 0.5s behind Aitken anything could still happen.

 

Up front Lorandi was easily controlling the pace, running his own lines and looking comfortable even if he was unable to break the 1s DRS barrier back to Boccolacci, who had a similar problem with Kari. Aitken was pushing hard to grab the fastest lap but was unable to close down the time set by Russell, and with the laps rolling down it looked as though the fight was going to continue to Abu Dhabi.

 

But on lap 13 Ticktum, who had been fast all weekend and was looking for more than another P4, pushed hard and got inside Kari, towing Hubert with him as they ran 3 wide into turn 4, where there was only space for 2: Ticktum was into the gravel and retirement, Kari just held off an attack from Hubert, the safety car was out to allow the marshals to retrieve the stranded DAMS, and the points bump meant that the gap from Russell to Aitken was now 50, enough to claim the title.

 

The race restarted for the final lap, with Lorandi comfortably controlling Boccolacci and Kari for his maiden win, with Hubert leading home his ART teammates Russell, Fukuzumi and Aitken, the latter two having a look at Russell at Dry Sac but unable to make anything stick, with Alesi rounding out the points in P8 as Jenzer celebrated their second win of the season and ART basked in the glory of success after claiming the 2017 GP3 Series Drivers’ and Teams’ titles ahead of the final round of the season, in Abu Dhabi on 24-26 November.

 

Provisional Race 2 Classification

 

    Driver Team Gap    
1   Alessio LORANDI Jenzer Motorsport    
2   Dorian BOCCOLACCI Trident +0.743  
3   Niko KARI Arden International +1.511  
4   Anthoine HUBERT ART Grand Prix +1.696  
5   George RUSSELL ART Grand Prix +2.722  
6   Nirei FUKUZUMI ART Grand Prix +3.065  
7   Jack AITKEN ART Grand Prix +3.617  
8   Giuliano ALESI Trident +4.077  
9   Tatiana CALDERON DAMS +4.376  
10   Julien FALCHERO Campos Racing +5.198  
11   Steijn SCHOTHORST Arden International +5.563  
12   Leonardo PULCINI Arden International +5.948  
13   Arjun MAINI Jenzer Motorsport +6.576  
14   Bruno BAPTISTA DAMS +6.960  
15   Ryan TVETER Trident +7.229  
16   Raoul HYMAN Campos Racing +7.723  
17   Juan Manuel CORREA Jenzer Motorsport +8.096  
18   Marcos SIEBERT Campos Racing +8.637  
19   Kevin JOERG Trident +8.746  
20   Daniel TICKTUM DAMS +4 Laps