Marcus Ericsson and John Lancaster shared the GP2 spoils between them this weekend at the Nurburgring in Germany, as Facu Regalia and Melville McKee took the wins in the GP3 series.
Ericsson took the first win of the weekend, and his first of the 2013 GP2 campaign, on Saturday, with the DAMS racer winning by a comfortable 7.86s from ART’s British driver James Calado.
Behind the front two, a titanic last lap scrap for the final podium spot saw 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns desperately trying to defend his third place from a charging Stefano Coletti going into the chicane.
Under pressure from championship leader Coletti, Frijns got his Hilmer Motorsport car out of shape and lost ground going into the final corner, frantically banging his car into the back of Coletti as the Monegasque driver sailed past, followed swiftly by both Fabio Leimer and Stephane Richlemi. The four drivers crossed the line with just 0.357s between them, with Coletti taking the final podium spot and Frijns ending up in sixth.
In Sunday’s race, Ericsson was less fortunate, as British racer Jon Lancaster claimed his second sprint race win in a week, followed home by fellow countryman James Calado, while Ericsson slipped progressively down the order to finish 13th.
Fabio Leimer took the final podium spot as Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto Jnr rounded out the top five, while Robin Frijns was causing controversy again, diving into a non-existent gap while trying to overtake Sam Bird and retiring with damage from the resulting spin soon after.
For the GP2 standings after the Nurburgring, click here.
In the GP3 series, Argentinian ART driver Facu Regalia converted his first ever GP3 pole into a dominant win over championship leader Tio Ellinas in Saturday’s race as Briton Jack Harvey took third.
In what was a fairly processional race, a fact attributed by some to the move to harder compound tyres for GP3 in 2013, Regalia survived the first lap carnage which saw Macanese driver Luis Sa Silva clatter unceremoniously into Carlin team-mate Eric Lichtenstein, putting both out.
Alex Fontana also got out of shape on lap one and spun around, while Swede Jimmy Eriksson smashed into his Status Grand Prix team-mate Josh Webster at the chicane. All three drivers were forced to retire.
“It was the best car I’ve ever driven in my life,” said winner Regalia, who was so excited by his win that he tumbled off his car after standing on it to celebrate in parc ferme.
“We really deserved this result and have been looking for this since Valencia. We were always really close and here was the opportunity to be at the top and take my first victory in GP3.”
In Sunday’s race, Melville McKee claimed his maiden victory in a British top four lockout, with Alexander Sims, Nick Yelloly and McKee’s Bamboo Engineering team-mate Lewis Williamson following him home.
Sims, driving a one-off race for Status Grand Prix, was slow off the line from his reverse grid pole position, allowing McKee to surge past and into the lead, with Yelloly moving into second.
Sims was determined to make up for his poor start, however, and passed Yelloly at the halfway point before setting his sights on McKee, pushing all the way to the finish line but ultimately having to settle for second, just 0.353s behind his compatriot.
MW Arden’s Carlos Sainz Jnr came home in fifth, while Ellinas, who goes away from Germany still heading the championship, was sixth.
For the GP3 standings after the Nurburgring, click here.
Both the GP2 and GP3 series now follow the F1 calendar to the Hungaroring on the weekend of July 26th-28th.