MOTOR RACING: Stoneman wins GP3 opener

Hampshire Chronicle: DEAN STONEMAN DEAN STONEMAN

DEAN Stoneman produced one the best races of his career in front of Formula One bosses to secure an emotional victory on the opening weekend of the GP3 Championship.

The 23 year-old excelled in poor conditions in Barcelona, to win the Spanish Grand Prix’s support race - his best result since beginning his comeback from life-threatening testicular cancer last year.

Starting from the front of the grid, Stoneman made his move down the outside of Swiss rookie Matheo Tuscher on lap two as the rest of the field wrestled with the challenging conditions.

Tuscher fought back and with the cars wheel-to-wheel, the two Dallaras touched.

But Stoneman held on before establishing a lead in his red Marussia GP3. The 23-year old was restricted by two safety cars due to accidents, but continued to excel in the wet.

Due to the safety car incidents, the 17-lap race was run on a timed basis which triggered a nervous last ten minutes for Stoneman’s team.

But Stoneman came through to ensure an emotional victory. “This feels amazing,” he said.

“To be back winning on the international stage again so early in the season exceeds all my expectations.

“The weather made it really tough. There was simply no grip at the start, I even managed to spin the car, but knew I had a chance to get the lead but knew I had to do it early on.

“I passed him but he came back at me and nearly took us both off. Thankfully I was able to open up a small lead only easing up at the end to preserve the tyres.”

Stoneman later dedicated his win to his friend Dean Paling who died in a road traffic accident in December last year. “He would have enjoyed this today, so this one’s for him,” added Stoneman, who will now prepare for rounds three and four of the GP3 Championship as it moves on to The Red Bull Ring in Austria on June 21/22.

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