ERIKSSON VICTORIOUS IN SOCHI RACE 2
The super Swede was happy to be back on the top step after enduring some challenging times this season: The Koiranen GP ace started from reverse pole and saw off the advances of Antonio Fuoco who briefly held the lead on the opening lap. From then on, Eriksson drove a calm and confident race to the flag, which was somewhat fitting after losing the race win with technical gremlins at the previous event in Monza. ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Ocon recorded his ninth consecutive second place with some brave overtakes whilst Carlin’s Jann Mardenborough made a return to the rostrum in third.
It was a busy morning for the GP3 Series with the second race of Round 7 of the 2015 GP3 Series taking place just one and half hours after race one. It was a Koiranen GP front row with Eriksson and Matthew Parry, ahead of the Carlin duo of Fuoco and Mardenborough. Eriksson made a good start, but not as well as Fuoco who flew away from third.
The Italian edged past the Swede for a few moments but had to leave the Koiranen GP ace space going into Turn 1. Eriksson ran wide but maintained his lead, whilst Mardenborough nipped past Fuoco for third. Unfortunately for Parry, he was slow away from the front row and he pulled into the pits to retire early on.
Title contenders Ocon and Luca Ghiotto were up to P4 and P6 respectively, with Arden International’s Emil Bernstorff sandwiched between the pair. On lap four, Series leader Ghiotto attempted an overtake on the Brit for fourth, but ran wide over the kerbs; losing three places in the process and dropping outside of the points.
Eriksson led by 1.6s over Mardenborough, with Fuoco close behind his Carlin teammate. Ocon was soon hot on the tail of Fuoco and after several laps and an incredible wheel to wheel fight with the Ferrari Academy Driver, the Frenchman made a brave move stick for third place.
Bernstorff was right behind this tussle and saw his opportunity to pounce, but his move was denied by Fuoco. On lap ten, the Brit tried again, but ran wide at Turn 2, allowing Artur Janosz into fifth place. Eriksson began to extend his margin at the front of the field to over 3.4s over Mardenborough, whilst Ocon began to reel in the Brit.
The ART Grand Prix star was catching Mardenborough at a rapid rate and on the penultimate lap he made and impressive and bold pass on the Carlin driver at Turn 16 for second place. There was a gaggle of cars scrapping for Bernstorff’s P6, and on the final lap, Ghiotto overtook Campos Racing’s Alex Palou for the last point on offer in eighth.
At the chequered flag, Eriksson was pleased to enjoy his first win of the season, his third in the category. Ocon took yet another second place finish which has closed the gap considerably in the title battle. Mardenborough claimed his second podium finish of the year ahead of Fuoco, Janosz, Bernstorff, Kirchhöfer and Ghiotto.
Ghiotto’s advantage in the Drivers’ Standings has been cut to just two points, with Ghiotto on 196 and Ocon on 194. Bernstorff has moved into third on 146, also just two points ahead of Kirchhöfer. ART Grand Prix have a mammoth lead in the Teams’ Standings: They sit pretty on 357, ahead of Arden International (227) and Trident (224) respectively.
Round 8 of the GP3 Series will take place at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain next month on 19-21 November 2015.