New Zealander Mitch Evans has this morning become the 2012 GP3 Champion.
The MW Arden driver came into the weekend leading the championship from Carlin Antonio Felix Da Costa and the two Lotus cars of Arno Vainio and the outsider Daniel Abt.
He had one hand on the title on Friday when he beat Da Costa to pole position and secured the vital four bonus points.
Evans could have won the title on Saturday; all he needed to do was finish second to Da Costa who started on the front row with him. Vainio needed to outscore him by ten points (fifth place in Evans failed to score) and Abt needed to win, take fastest lap and hope both Evans and Da Costa failed to score to stay in the hunt.
At the start Evans and Da Costa were beaten away from the line by Matias Laine of Arden and Tio Ellinas of Manor who then touched into turn one sending Evans over the chicane in avoidance.
In this move he suffered damage and was forced into retirement at the end of the first lap.
This swung the title in the direction of Da Costa who was third and going to take a huge chuck of Evans lead away, with Evans now starting twenty fifth for Sundays race.
Just as it was looking good for Da Costa, his car got stuck in sixth gear causing him to drop right back. He was eventually able to reset the gearbox and get going again, finishing in fifteenth place - ending his championship hopes.
Things were now looking good for Lotus; Abt has taken the lead of the race and was the holder of fastest lap with Vainio in third.
On the penultimate lap Manor driver Dmitry Suranovich ran off the track and into the tyres at the Parabolica bringing out the yellow flags.
On the last lap Vainio was attempting to take the fastest lap bonus point to put him into a better position going into the final race, but set his best sector time in the yellow flag zone causing him to receive a twenty second penalty, dropping him to twelfth and out of the championship.
So on Sunday it was down to Evans (starting twenty fifth) and Abt (starting eighth). For Abt the mathematics were identical to Saturday, win with fastest lap and hope Evans doesnt score.
By half distance he has worked his way up into second place, with fastest lap and just had Giovanni Venturini of Trident standing between him and the championship lead.
Evans was still stuck in the midfield but did fight his way into the points. He came to the battling Vainio and Da Costa, in an incident at the first corner he ran over the chicane and suffered damage to his car.
At the next chicane he was still battling to stay ahead and he ran across again re-entering dangerously in front of Vainio, before finally running off the track with a puncture.
He limped back to the pits for a replacement and recovered to twentieth.
He could do nothing about the battle at the front, with Abt passing Venturini to take the lead of the race and the championship.
Ellinas was third and closing on the top two, first passing Venturini and then taking a big look inside Abt.
With five laps to go Ellinas passed, giving the championship back to Evans.
On the very next lap Abt make his move and retook the lead and the championship.
With two laps to go Ellinas again passed, but this time Abt could do nothing about it and he was forced to watch his championship drive away with fading tyres.
Second place with fastest lap means that Evans and Abt are level on points after the final race of and incredible season, with the title going to Evans by virtue of more race wins.
Evans is the third UpdateF1 Stars of Tomorrow to win the GP3 championship in its three year existance, following in th wheeltracks of 2010 champion Esterban Gutierrez and 2011 champion Valterri Bottas - both reserve drivers with Formula One teams.
Written: Sun, 09 Sep 2012 07:58:00
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