Stoneman wins in Belgium

DEAN STONEMAN

DEAN STONEMAN

First published in General Sport
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Reporter

Dean Stoneman delivered a stunning performance at a damp Spa circuit to secure a valuable second GP3 victory of the season.

Racing for the first time at Spa Francorchamps, the famous Belgium circuit, the 24 year-old was unfazed as he dominated the first of two races in tricky wet conditions.

Starting from the sixth row of the grid, Stoneman took the inspired move to start the 13-lap race on slick tyres.

It promoted several other drivers to move away from the safe wet option on a slowly drying track and was a move that was to pay off for the Southampton driver.

As the lights went out at the start, Stoneman avoided a number of collisions going on around him.

With more drivers making the move to dry tyres, Stoneman was already starting to make up places and by the middle of the race was up to seventh.

Feeling there was much more to be achieved, Stoneman continued to push and gain further places with a series of brilliant overtaking moves.

With just seven laps to go Stoneman was up to second and chasing down the leader. Then, just two laps later, the lead car made an error on the exit of Eau Rouge. 

It spun off and back on the track, narrowly missing Stoneman as he shot through to grab the lead.

Stoneman’s increasing advantage was only pegged back when the safety car was deployed as further drivers struggled in the greasy conditions. As the safety car returned to the pit lane, Stoneman opened up a healthy lead for the remaining laps.

And despite a further safety car and some confusion at the end of the race it was Stoneman who was the victor following a peerless performance on one of the most demanding circuits on the GP3 calendar.

A delighted Stoneman said: “That has to be one of the most satisfying wins of my career. I came here with no experience of this circuit at all.

"The conditions were the worst kind, wet then damp and partly dry. It’s a set-up nightmare, really hard to call, but I spoke to my engineer Pete Berry and we decided to go with slicks. I think we were the first to do so. It worked well and I’m delighted it came off.”

Stoneman secured a further championship point by posting the fastest lap of the 13- lap race.

He finished ninth in the second race on Sunday morning but his first win since his triumph on the opening weekend in Barcelona means he is up to eighth in the GP3 Championship, with six rounds to go in Italy, Russia and UAE.

 

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