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Spa GP3: Dean Stoneman wins hectic opening race

Manor's Dean Stoneman scored his second GP3 Series victory at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.

The Briton took full advantage of starting on slick tyres on a damp but drying track, and inheriting victory when leader Matheo Tuscher spun off.

Stoneman started 11th, but the leading starter on slick tyres, Patric Niderhauser, took himself and title contender Jimmy Eriksson out at the first corner.

That mantle should have been held by Marvin Kirchhofer, but he failed to start after shunting heavily on the warm-up lap.

Carlin's Emil Bernstorff took the lead from polesitting debutant Luca Ghiotto (Trident) at the start, but knew that his wet tyres were the wrong choice and pitted for slicks at the end of the opening lap.

Ghiotto led for three laps until Tuscher cruised past him as the track dried out. Tuscher then held a two-second lead over Stoneman when he ran wide at Eau Rouge and spun on the damp patch on the run-off.

He stalled as he came to rest back on the racing line at Raidillon, but fortunately everybody missed him.

Dino Zamparelli came through to finish second for ART Grand Prix, with Nick Yelloly (Status) completing an all-British podium.

Another Briton, Jann Mardenborough, finished fourth for Arden, ahead of Pal Varhaug, Alex Fontana and title rivals Richie Stanaway and Alex Lynn, who fought an epic duel over seventh after both had pitted on the warm-up lap for slicks.

Follow Sunday's second GP3 race as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live

Results - 12 laps

Pos Driver               Team        Time/Gap
 1. Dean Stoneman        Manor       28m58.508s
 2. Dino Zamparelli      ART         +1.210s
 3. Nick Yelloly         Status      +2.923s
 4. Jann Mardenborough   Arden       +3.837s
 5. Pal Varhaug          Jenzer      +4.938s
 6. Alex Fontana         ART         +5.734s
 7. Richie Stanaway      Status      +7.01s2
 8. Alex Lynn            Carlin      +7.555s
 9. Emil Bernstorff      Carlin      +8.059s
10. Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer      +9.237s
11. Kevin Ceccon         Jenzer      +10.027s
12. Alfonso Celis        Status      +10.547s
13. Santiago Urrutia     Koiranen    +11.831s
14. Ryan Cullen          Manor       +25.472s
15. Nelson Mason         Hilmer      +35.045s
16. Luis Sa Silva        Carlin      +1m10.700s
17. Carmen Jorda         Koiranen    +1m43.531s
18. Luca Ghiotto         Trident     +1m45.090s
19. Sebastian Balthasar  Hilmer      -2 laps
20. John Bryant-Meisner  Trident     -2 laps


    Matheo Tuscher       Jenzer      5 laps
    Robert Visoiu        Arden       8 laps
    Patrick Kujala       Manor       12 laps
    Jimmy Eriksson       Koiranen    12 laps
    Marvin Kirchhofer    ART         12 laps
    Patric Niederhauser  Arden       12 laps
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