Koiranen GP’s Ralph Boschung triumphant in safety-car affected race
Swiss Ralph Boschung mastered the tricky conditions in this morning’s wet GP3 race at the Red Bull Ring. The Koiranen GP ace started from P5 on the grid with the race started behind the safety car. He remained calm and cool as others around him made mistakes and he took the lead shortly after the safety car came in at the halfway point. The race saw three safety cars but it was Boschung who held on to achieve his debut win in the category. ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Albon and Trident’s Antonio Fuoco were second and third.
Heavy rain greeted the paddock for the thirty minute race and conditions worsened just before the race was due to commence. Therefore the 18 lap race was started behind the safety car due to the spray and visibility with DAMS’ rookie Jake Hughes leading the pack around from reverse pole. Unfortunately ART Grand Prix’s Nirei Fukuzumi who also started from the front row incurred technical gremlins as his machine starting slowing on the opening lap. The Japanese rookie retired in the pitlane.
Jenzer Motorsport’s Richard Gonda was another retirement as the first half of the race was run behind the safety car. At the re-start Hughes and Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry made contact; with Hughes spinning and dropping back to P6. Parry also made a visit through the gravel bed, but it was Boschung who was switched on and seized the opportunity to race into the lead. Fuoco lost several places into T1 at the re-start with all of the drivers trying to find the limit in the difficult conditions.
Meanwhile ART Grand Prix’s Albon and Nyck de Vries were up to second and third, whilst yesterday’s race winner and Series leader Charles Leclerc dropped from P7 to P16. Campos Racing’s Konstantin Tereschenko had a premature end to his race by going off into the gravel; shortly followed by Koiranen GP’s Matevos Isaakyan who stopped at the side of the track. This brought the safety car out whilst both cars were cleared away.
Once the race resumed on lap 14, Boschung led Albon and Fuoco, the Italian had carved his way back into third. A third safety car was needed when Leclerc made contact with Tatiana Calderon; whilst the Monegasque was spinning he also collected her Arden Motorsport teammate Jake Dennis. The trio all retired with damage to their cars. The debris and cars were cleared away with the safety car coming in on the final lap.
Boschung celebrated his first win in the category as he took the chequered flag 0.8s ahead of Albon and Fuoco. De Vries, Jack Aitken, Jake Hughes, Parry and Sandy Stuvik rounded out the top eight.
Leclerc’s deficit in the drivers’ standings has been cut to five points with Albon in second and Fuoco in third. ART GP remains in control of the Teams’ Standings ahead of Koiranen GP; the Finnish outfit jumping up to second following their win, with Trident in third.
There’s not much rest for GP3 as we are back in action next week for our first of three back-to-back races over the summer period. Silverstone hosts the third round of the 2016 season on July 08-09-10.