Patric Niederhauser wins rain-delayed Hockenheim GP3 race for Jenzer
|By Charles Bradley||Saturday, July 21st 2012, 16:27 GMT|
Patric Niederhauser won the ninth round of the GP3 Series at Hockenheim for Jenzer Motorsport on Saturday afternoon, following a lengthy red flag and safety car period for rain.
After a downpour just before the start, the race began on time behind the safety car, with the field on a mixture of slick and wet tyres. It was clearly wet-weather rubber conditions, so poleman Daniel Abt (Lotus) dived into the pits at the end of lap one, followed by points leader Mitch Evans (MW Arden) and the dozen or so others who had started on slicks.
That left Conor Daly's wet-shod Lotus car in the lead, ahead of similarly-tyred Niederhauser and Kevin Ceccon (Ocean), the leaders of the 15 cars that started on wets. But as the rain intensified, the red flag was shown.
Following the rain delay, the race was restarted - after another lengthy safety car period - for the remaining seven laps. Although Daly had a 0.5-second lead, Niederhauser quickly latched onto his gearbox and pulled off a superb attacking move, which ended at the Mercedes Arena with him grasping the lead.
A succession of fastest laps allowed him to extend a 1.8s lead, which Daly then trimmed to 0.6s by the chequered flag. Ceccon finished a distant third, ahead of Trident's Giovanni Venturini. Matias Laine took fifth, just holding title challenger Aaro Vainio at bay.
Evans could only recover to ninth, outside the points, so Vainio closes the gap at the top of the standings to five points. Poleman Abt finished eighth, giving him pole for Sunday's reversed-grid race too.
Results - 14 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer 45m51.078s 2. Conor Daly Lotus + 0.693s 3. Kevin Ceccon Ocean + 5.361s 4. Giovanni Venturini Trident + 8.841s 5. Matias Laine MW Arden + 11.353s 6. Aaro Vainio Lotus + 11.983s 7. Tamas Pal Kiss Atech CRS + 12.555s 8. Daniel Abt Lotus + 13.415s 9. Mitch Evans MW Arden + 13.983s 10. Will Buller Carlin + 14.205s 11. Tio Ellinas Manor + 18.564s 12. Robert Cregan Ocean + 22.297s 13. David Fumanelli MW Arden + 22.889s 14. Lewis Williamson Status + 24.264s 15. Vicky Piria Trident + 29.081s 16. Alex Brundle Carlin + 29.303s 17. Dmitry Suranovich Manor + 29.696s 18. Marlon Stockinger Status + 31.067s 19. Ethan Ringel Atech CRS + 38.233s 20. Alice Powell Status + 42.018s 21. Robert Visoiu Jenzer + 42.719s 22. Carmen Jorda Ocean + 56.621s Retirements: Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin 9 laps Fabiano Machado Manor 8 laps