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Norisring European F3: Lance Stroll survives to win opening race

Prema Powerteam driver and points leader Lance Stroll charged to a clear fourth Formula 3 European Championship win of the 2016 season in race one at the Norisring

The Williams Formula 1 junior lined up on pole position but dropped behind Joel Eriksson in the early stages, as Callum Ilott - who qualified second but was hit with a 10-place penalty - charged from 12th to third.

The Van Amersfoort Racing driver attempted a move on Stroll for second but outbraked himself at Turn 2 midway through the race, crashing into leader Eriksson and opening the door for Stroll to reclaim the lead.

The safety car was deployed to clear the two damaged cars, with Stroll having to contend with another brief pause when Sergio Sette Camara and Guanya Zhou collided at Turn 4 while battling for third.

Stroll pulled away from Niko Kari at the restart and crossed the line one second clear of his nearest rival to claim his first victory at the Norisring, extending his lead in the championship.

Red Bull junior Kari finished second, with Nick Cassidy completing the podium.

George Russell struggled in the early stages but the Hitech GP driver recovered to fourth, while Ralf Aron and Ben Barnicoat moved up to fifth and sixth after late overtakes on Mikkel Jensen.

Race two polesitter Anthoine Hubert was eighth, with Pedro Piquet and David Beckmann completing the top 10. Nikita Mazepin, Alessio Lorandi and Ryan Tveter rounded out the classified runners.

Will Buller, on his return to Formula 3 to replace Zhi Cong Li at Carlin, retired early in the race with a mechanical issue.

Ilott, Eriksson, Sette Camara and Zhou joined him on the sidelines, as did Harrison Newey - after contact with Piquet - and Maximilian Gunther, who tapped the Turn 7 wall.

RESULT - 38 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam 33m59.186s
2 Niko Kari Motopark 1.064s
3 George Russell Hitech GP 2.926s
4 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam 4.821s
5 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP 6.233s
6 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam 7.258s
7 Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport 7.401s
8 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing 7.883s
9 Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing 8.737s
10 David Beckmann kfzteile Mucke Motorsport 13.285s
11 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 13.720s
12 Alessio Lorandi Carlin 13.881s
13 Ryan Tveter Carlin 13.992s
- Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Retirement
- Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Retirement
- Guanyu Zhou Motopark Retirement
- Joel Eriksson Motopark Retirement
- Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Retirement
- Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Retirement
- William Buller Carlin Retirement


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