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Mitch Evans wins GP3 season opener at Barcelona

Mitch Evans wins at BarcelonaPre-season title favourite Mitch Evans kicked off his 2012 GP3 Series campaign with victory in round one at Barcelona.

The MW Arden driver simply had to be patient in third until leaders Daniel Abt (Lotus) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin) were penalised for jump-starts.

Once elevated into the lead, Evans was able to pull away from second-place Status driver Marlon Stockinger and win by 2.6 seconds despite a mid-race safety car to retrieve Kevin Ceccon's Ocean car, which had stopped on course.

Both polesitter da Costa and sixth-place starter Abt had rolled forward on the grid before the lights went out, but Abt then turned his issue into a brilliant getaway - surging through to second and then passing da Costa into Turn 1. Their drive-throughs dropped them outside the top 20, but they fought back to 13th and 14th, Abt still ahead.

In contrast to Abt and da Costa, front-row qualifier Conor Daly went backwards at the start, and was then overtaken in quick succession by Jenzer's Patric Niederhauser and MW Arden's Matias Laine.

Rookie Niederhauser went on to attack Daly's Lotus team-mate Aaro Vainio for third - briefly making it in front into the first corner before Vainio fought back at Turn 3 and reclaimed the final podium spot for good.

Niederhauser then had to fend of Laine and Daly, who were also caught by the flying Tio Ellinas. A penalty for a yellow flag infringement had dropped the Manor driver from sixth to 16th on the grid, but he recovered to seventh in the race.

Eighth and race two pole went to Robert Visoiu (Jenzer), while MW Arden's David Fumanelli and Carlin's Alex Brundle completed the top 10.

Results - 16 laps:

Pos  Driver                  Team         Time/Gap
 1.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden   28m38.738s
 2.  Marlon Stockinger       Status       + 2.609s
 3.  Aaro Vainio             Lotus        + 4.594s
 4.  Patric Niederhauser     Jenzer       + 5.071s
 5.  Matias Laine            MW Arden     + 6.284s
 6.  Conor Daly              Lotus        + 6.941s
 7.  Tio Ellinas             Manor        + 7.419s
 8.  Robert Visoiu           Jenzer      + 10.102s
 9.  David Fumanelli         MW Arden    + 11.046s
10.  Alex Brundle            Carlin      + 11.291s
11.  Dmitry Suranovich       Manor       + 15.105s
12.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Atech CRS   + 15.752s
13.  Daniel Abt              Lotus       + 16.231s
14.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Carlin      + 16.577s
15.  Robert Cregan           Ocean       + 17.132s
16.  Fabiano Machado         Manor       + 17.775s
17.  Antonio Spavone         Trident     + 18.284s
18.  Kotaro Sakurai          Status      + 19.087s
19.  Jakub Klasterka         Jenzer      + 19.626s
20.  Carmen Jorda            Ocean       + 22.224s
21.  John Wartique           Atech CRS   + 23.070s
22.  Vicky Piria             Trident     + 32.897s
23.  William Buller          Carlin      + 46.346s

Retirements:

     Kevin Ceccon            Ocean          7 laps
     Ethan Ringel            Atech CRS      0 laps
     Alice Powell            Status         0 laps
Daytona Competition
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