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Sochi GP3: Dean Stoneman dominates on Koiranen return

Dean Stoneman scored his fourth GP3 victory of the season in the first international-level race to be held at the new Sochi Autodrom in Russia on Saturday

Stoneman led from lights to flag in his first race back with the Koiranen GP team, taking over the car regularly used by tailender Carmen Jorda and continuing his domination of the weekend after starting from pole position.

He was helped at the start when fellow front row starter Alex Fontana made a poor getaway, allowing his ART team-mates Marvin Kirchhoffer and Dino Zamparelli to battle out second place through the opening corners.

Kirchoffer appeared to gain a huge advantage by straightlining Turn 3, putting him right on Stoneman's tail, while Zamparelli made a poor exit and was swamped by the field, losing further places when he ran very wide at Turn 13.

Stoneman was already a second clear ahead of Kirchoffer at the end of the opening lap, and was 4.2s ahead on the penultimate tour before cruising to a 1.8s victory.

Fontana recovered to third, just losing out in a fastest-lap duel with Stoneman.

Jimmy Eriksson finished fourth for Koiranen, enough to elevate him above Richie Stanaway to second in points, well clear of Kevin Ceccon and Jann Mardenborough.

Title favourite Alex Lynn scored a subdued but important seventh place, which consolidated his points lead and puts him on the front row for the reversed-grid race two on Sunday, when he is likely to wrap-up the crown.

His erstwhile closest rival Stanaway was forced to start from the pitlane after failing to bring his car to the FIA weighbridge before his team worked on it in qualifying.

Stanaway surged to 12th, after making strong progress early on, but failed to score any points and will start 10 places further back from Lynn on Sunday.

Arden's Patric Niederhauser will start Sunday's race from pole after finishing eighth.

Zamparelli trailed home 18th after being given a drive-through penalty for a clash with fellow Brit Emil Bernstorff, which put the Carlin man out of the race with broken suspension.

RESULTS - 15 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Dean Stoneman Koiranen GP 28m45.648s
2 Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix 1.812s
3 Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix 4.978s
4 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 8.862s
5 Kevin Ceccon Jenzer Motorsport 13.235s
6 Jann Mardenborough Arden International 13.683s
7 Alex Lynn Carlin 14.740s
8 Patric Niederhauser Arden International 15.056s
9 Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix 16.243s
10 Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 21.985s
11 Riccardo Agostini Hilmer Motorsport 22.859s
12 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 24.904s
13 Patrick Kujala Trident 28.005s
14 Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP 34.045s
15 Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport 39.097s
16 Alfonso Celis Status Grand Prix 39.852s
17 Luis Jorge Sa Silva Carlin 42.002s
18 Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix 46.834s
19 Nikolay Martsenko Hilmer Motorsport 52.299s
20 Mitch Gilbert Trident 1m46.264s
- Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport Retirement
- Emil Bernstorff Carlin Retirement
- Robert Visoiu Arden International Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER 15 OF 18 ROUNDS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Alex Lynn 179
2 Jimmy Eriksson 127
3 Dean Stoneman 126
4 Marvin Kirchhofer 125
5 Richie Stanaway 123
6 Emil Bernstorff 111
7 Nick Yelloly 104
8 Dino Zamparelli 101
9 Jann Mardenborough 69
10 Patric Niederhauser 41
11 Alex Fontana 35
12 Matheo Tuscher 29
13 Robert Visoiu 22
14 Patrick Kujala 22
15 Riccardo Agostini 18
16 Kevin Ceccon 14
17 Pal Varhaug 12
18 Roman de Beer 8
19 Luis Jorge Sa Silva 6
20 Luca Ghiotto 4

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