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Aug 24, 2014 - 06:36 AM
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Status GP's Yelloly Takes Spa Podium
Posted by: newsla on Aug 24, 2014 - 06:32 AM
GP2 News
Status GP's Yelloly Takes Spa Podium

Status Grand Prix’s Nick Yelloly took a podium finish in a dramatic first race of the GP3 Series weekend supporting the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.


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In damp-but-drying conditions, Englishman Yelloly rose up the order from 13th on the grid on slick tyres, while team-mate Richie Stanaway recovered from a pit-stop for slicks at the end of the green-flag lap to cross the line seventh.

Decisions were split among the field as to the best tyre choice for the race. The top six qualifiers, including Stanaway, elected on the grid to fit wet-weather Pirelli P Zero tyres, while those behind gambled on slicks. These included Yelloly, who had suffered a difficult wet qualifying to leave him unusually far back.

A delayed start, due to a crash on the green-flag lap, allowed the track more time to dry out and benefited those on slicks. That meant that Status GP runners Stanaway and Alfonso Celis Jr dived into the pits for dry-weather tyres just at the end of the formation lap before the race started.

Yelloly had a big battle with fellow Britons Dino Zamparelli and Jann Mardenborough as they carved their way through the wet-tyred runners and, from 13th on the grid, he was up into fourth place after five laps.

A spin at Eau Rouge for race leader Matheo Tuscher meant the safety car appeared for the stranded car to be retrieved. Tuscher’s spin promoted Yelloly to third, but there were no changes of position among the leading runners in the two-lap sprint to the finish after the restart.

New Zealander Stanaway raced through the field in company with series leader Alex Lynn, and he crucially passed title rival Lynn into La Source on the fourth lap. By the following lap he was into the top 10, and he fended off Lynn all the way to finish seventh.

Mexican Celis also made great progress from his start in the pit-lane. When the safety car emerged the teenaged GP3 rookie was 11th, just one place outside the points, but at the restart he was hit by Ryan Cullen at the Bus Stop chicane, damaging his rear suspension.

Celis conceded one place on the penultimate lap, but on the final lap he set two purple sector times – denoting the fastest set by anybody in the race – despite the handling imbalance caused by his damage.

The results mean Yelloly has leapfrogged his way up to third in the standings, one place behind team-mate Stanaway, while Status GP remains second in the teams’ points, gaining ground on Carlin at the front.

Sunday’s race begins at 0925.

Driver quotes:

Nick Yelloly
“Starting 13th, we could take more of a gamble on tyres, and on the green-flag laps you could tell it was going to dry out. Then we got on with it and picked off the wet-tyred runners one by one. It was good fun battling with Dino and Jann – Dino got a run on us both and picked up a double-tow, and I ran off the track, so I let Jann past to be safe from picking up a penalty and got him back at La Source. The group of us were the class of the field on slicks in the damp, and I’m looking forward to making progress again tomorrow.”

Richie Stanaway
“There were quite a few championship contenders at the front and we were all there sitting on the grid on wets – and I didn’t want to be the one to take a punt and have it rain. When you start further down you can take that risk. So then I had to pit at the end of the formation lap. Lynn and I were pressing on pretty hard. We were giving it everything – flat out! It was a pretty cool race actually – of course I’m disappointed with the result, but it was fun.”

Alfonso Celis Jr
“I thought it was going to rain again so I take the blame for the initial tyre choice. But I think I drove well throughout the rest of the race and I’m quite happy about how it turned out. At the restart, I closed more on the cars in front at the Bus Stop than I thought I would, so I had to brake earlier than normal. I saw the smoke from Ryan and I thought ‘Oh my God!’. I was already turning but I prepared for the hit and caught it. It damaged the suspension though and I was really oversteering from then on.”

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