Silverstone GP3: Kirchhofer fends off Bernstorff for second win of 2015

ART Grand Prix driver Marvin Kirchhofer narrowly held off his former German F3 teammate Emil Bernstorff to win the feature race at Silverstone.

Silverstone GP3: Kirchhofer fends off Bernstorff for second win of 2015
ART engineers watch Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix on the big screen
Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix
Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix
Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix
Pal Varhaug, Jenzer Motorsport
Luca Ghiotto, Trident
Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix
Alex Fontana, Status Grand Prix
Alex Palou, Campos Racing
Aleksander Bosak, Arden International
Marvin Kirchhofer, ART Grand Prix
Sandy Stuvik, Status Grand Prix
Christopher Höher, Campos Racing

Rapid off the line, Kirchhofer managed to keep his Bernstorff at bay into Turn 1, albeit the Arden driver seriously threatened for the lead for the remainder of the opening lap.

However, Kirchhofer weathered the early storm and soon established a gap of a second and a few tenths, which he maintained over the first half of the race.

Behind the leading duo, third-placed Alex Palou allowed fellow rookie Matt Parry through at the start and was passed by the Brit's Koiranen teammate Jimmy Eriksson next time around.

Palou ran a solid fifth for the next few laps, but the newcomer's car soon developed an issue, first allowing championship frontrunners Luca Ghiotto and Esteban Ocon through and then losing all speed.

Out front, Bernstorff and Parry had both kept in touch with the leader at halfway point, the former soon returning to within a second of Kirchhofer. With three laps to go, the gap between the leading duo was at just half a second.

On the penultimate lap, Kirchhofer slowed in the first sector and allowed Bernstorff to get alongside him. The pair ran side by side by for a few corners, before Kirchhofer claimed the inside line into Copse, maintaining the lead.

His Arden rival never got this close again over the remaining lap and a half, allowing Kirchhofer to secure the win.

While Parry brought the car home to claim a maiden GP3 podium, his teammate and 2014 Silverstone winner Eriksson was all by his lonesome for much of the race in fourth, unable to keep up with the top three but keeping clear of fifth-placed Ghiotto.

However, the Swede started to lose time in the final minutes and was reeled in by the championship leader, who eventually passed him round the outside on the final lap.

Ocon took sixth, ahead of Kevin Ceccon and Ralph Boschung, who is set to start the reverse-grid race from pole for a second successive weekend.

Artur Janosz and Matheo Tuscher scored their first points of the season in ninth and tenth respectively.

Pos  Driver   Team  Time/Gap 
M.Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix 37'02.785 
Emil Bernstorff Arden International 0.302
Matt Parry Koiranen GP 2.421
Luca Ghiotto Trident 9.439
Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 10.511
Esteban Ocon ART Grand Prix 11.459
Kevin Ceccon Arden International 12.274
Ralph Boschung Jenzer Motorsport 18.732
Artur Janosz Trident 19.932
10  Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 21.197
11  Oscar Tunjo Trident 22.052
12  Adderly Fong Koiranen GP 30.193
13  Alfonso Celis ART Grand Prix 33.591
14  Alex Bosak Arden International 38.177
15  Seb Morris Status Grand Prix 38.266
16  Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 38.456
17  J.Mardenborough Carlin 38.707
18  Antonio Fuoco Carlin 39.270
19  Alex Fontana Status Grand Prix 40.052
20  Mitchell Gilbert Carlin 51.168
21  Zaid Ashkanani Campos Racing 55.378
22  Sandy Stuvik Status Grand Prix 1'04.044
23  C.Hoher Campos Racing 1'17.420
Alex Palou Campos Racing
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Silverstone GP3: Kirchhofer storms to third career pole

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