Fukuzumi collects a win in the GP3 Series season-opener

Fukuzumi collects a win in the GP3 Series season-opener

Sweeping victory for the Japanese ART Grand Prix driver, who becomes the series leader.

Formula 1

Nirei Fukuzumi pocketed his maiden GP3 win in dominant style at the Circuit de Barcelona–Catalunya today. He was flanked on the podium by two Italians, Leonardo Pulcini (Arden International) and Alessio Lorandi (Jenzer Motorsport), third fastest.

The 20-year-old Japanese Honda driver started from P2 on the grid and outdid pole sitter and team mate Jack Aitken in Turn 1. Behind the two ART Grand Prix drivers, Pulcini made a shooting start and climbed three spots to third on the timesheet.

Fukuzumi and Aitken set a blistering pace and clearly pulled away from the remaining drivers, who slotted in rather stable positions. After a conservative first third, the DRS came into play and the race livened up with a few overtaking passes in the midfield. This is the first year DRS is used in the GP3 Series, with certain constraints.

Aitken tried to put pressure on Fukuzumi, but mechanical troubles forced him out of the race in lap 16. Unchallenged, the Japanese lapped comfortably on his own to claim victory and, subsequently, the top spot in the overall standings.

The battle for podium between Pulcini –incumbent EuroFormula Open but rookie in this series- and more experienced Lorandi created some excitement, with Pulcini emerging on top. Right behind them, George Russell (ART Grand Prix) worked his way up to 4th place finish following a bad start, and team mate Anthoine Hubert wound up 6th after plucking 4 places up the order.

The second GP3 Series race is scheduled for tomorrow at 9.25 am as part of the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017 program. Raoul Hyman (Campos Racing) will start from pole after finishing 8th, as the top eight drivers from race one will line up in reverse order at the front of the grid.

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