Bahrain GP3: Kirchhofer upstages Ocon/Ghiotto, ART wins title

Marvin Kirchhofer stormed from fifth for a fourth GP3 win of 2015, as ART Grand Prix team-mate Esteban Ocon increased his drivers' lead over Luca Ghiotto to five points

Bahrain GP3: Kirchhofer upstages Ocon/Ghiotto, ART wins title

First and third for Kirchhofer and Ocon secured the teams' championship for ART for the fifth time in the series' six-year existence.

Kirchhofer had a great getaway from row three of the grid and was able to capitalise on Ocon and Ghiotto being preoccupied with fighting between themselves.

Poleman Ocon immediately cut across Ghiotto, who was then forced to cut back onto the outside of Turn 1, which allowed Kirchhofer to sneak up the inside and take the lead.

For the majority of the race Kirchhofer handled his tyre wear well and was rarely threatened by team-mate Ocon

He eased to a win that ties him with Ghiotto for most victories of 2015.

It seemed as though Mercedes junior Ocon was on course to secure his 10th consecutive second place finish, but Emil Bernstorff deposed the Frenchman on the final lap.

Bernstorff ran in fourth for much of the race but launched an attack late on, relieving Ghiotto of third at Turn 1 with three laps to go and then passing Ocon into the downhill left-hander onto the back straight - following contact at the tight Turn 4.

Trident driver Ghiotto stayed with title rival Ocon for most of the race but tyre degradation played a part as he lost ground, and ultimately lost track position to finish fourth.

Sochi race two winner Jimmy Eriksson fought his way from ninth on the grid to finish fifth, well clear of Arthur Janosz in sixth.

Nissan protege Jan Mardenborough came out on top of a race long battle with 2016 Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr.

The pair fought hard and made contact on numerous occasions, but Mardenborough was able to muscle his way through in the closing stages.

Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco finished ninth ahead of Ralph Boschung.

Tyre wear was a big problem for many drivers during the 20-lap race.

Arden International driver Kevin Ceccon was running as high as fourth in the early stages but fell back considerably late on to finish 14th.

GP3 debutant Matevos Isaakyan, stepping in for Adderly Fong while he competes in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, also suffered. He was running in the top 10 but quickly fell down the order, and ended up retiring.

RESULTS - 20 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix 37m11.554s
2 Emil Bernstorff Arden International 1.546s
3 Esteban Ocon ART Grand Prix 2.756s
4 Luca Ghiotto Trident 5.677s
5 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 10.417s
6 Artur Janosz Trident 13.323s
7 Jann Mardenborough Carlin 13.843s
8 Alfonso Celis ART Grand Prix 16.288s
9 Antonio Fuoco Carlin 18.186s
10 Ralph Boschung Jenzer Motorsport 18.900s
11 Matt Parry Koiranen GP 23.610s
12 Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 28.950s
13 Sandy Stuvik Status Grand Prix 31.816s
14 Kevin Ceccon Arden International 31.916s
15 Mitch Gilbert Carlin 37.328s
16 Seb Morris Status Grand Prix 37.893s
17 Zaid Ashkanani Campos Racing 40.218s
18 Konstantin Tereschenko Campos Racing 50.428s
19 Alex Fontana Status Grand Prix 52.639s
20 Michele Beretta Trident 1 Lap
- Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport Retirement
- Matevos Isaakyan Koiranen GP Retirement
- Alex Bosak Arden International Retirement
- Alex Palou Campos Racing Retirement

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