26 May 2012
Filipino-Swiss driver Marlon Stöckinger has become yet another new winner in Monte Carlo, confirming first-time victors in both of the GP2 and GP3 races to be held this weekend. The result was sealed early for the Status driver, as a huge accident involving Lotus’ Conor Daly saw the American fly through the air and into catch fencing.
The start was dramatic, with a spectacular incident at the exit of Sainte Devote after Alex Brundle tapped the back of his Carlin team-mate William Buller, which sent Buller’s car into the air and landed upside down. The Safety Car was immediately deployed and Buller was able to climb out of the car unscathed. The accident also ruled Brundle, who had been touched by Alice Powell, out of the race.
Stöckinger defended his lead at the start, with Daniel Abt trying to sneak past António Félix da Costa, but the Lotus GP driver had to hold station. After two laps, the Safety Car came back in and the race was restarted. The remaining Carlin car of Félix da Costa set sights on P1, chasing Stockinger and desperately was looking for a way past. The Portuguese star started applying the pressure on the Filipino and stayed within half a second of the Status Grand Prix car during the race, eager to make a move.
Abt in P3 was a few seconds back from the two dicing for the win, ahead of Mitch Evans, David Fumanelli, Kevin Ceccon, Aaro Vainio and Tio Ellinas. There was to be more action further down the field in the second half of the race after Lotus GP’s Conor Daly caught the back of Dmitry Suranovich at the hairpin and the Russian driver lost his rear wing. As Suranovich continued on, struggling to keep control, Daly made contact with the rear of the Marussia Manor Racing car as they came out of the tunnel and became airborne, hitting the fence at the side of the circuit. It was a shocking accident but the American was able to get out of his car and walk away unharmed.
It was the second time the Safety Car had been deployed and after several laps the decision was made to stop the race for safety reasons, as the fence was damaged. Therefore, Stöckinger recorded his debut victory in GP3, as the result was declared after 14 laps. Félix da Costa took second with Abt achieving his first podium in the series. Evans, Fumanelli, Ceccon, Vainio and Ellinas rounded out the top eight. This result makes it four different winners from four races in 2012. Vainio heads the standings on 54 points, ahead of Evans on 43 and Stöckinger on 39.
GP3 continues on the streets of Valencia in three weeks’ time