Jenzer Motorsport's Nico Muller won an eventful GP3 Series sprint race in Valencia on Sunday morning. The Swiss driver beat polesitter James Jakes off the line to lead into the first corner and was never troubled thereafter, eventually winning by 3.2sec.
But it could have been a different story had the race been a few laps longer, as Atech's Roberto Merhi, who moved into second midway through the race, had reeled off a string of fastest laps to reduce what had been a leading margin of nearly six seconds.
Jakes, meanwhile, initially fell to third at the start when he went to the outside at turn one and allowed Rio Haryanto past, but reclaimed the spot from the Indonesian a few laps later – only to lose it again to Merhi. Haryanto held on to fourth, but the scrap for the final points places was chaotic.
Points leader Esteban Gutierrez was removed from contention early on when he was hit from behind by Robert Wickens, the Canadian receiving a drive-through penalty that also cost him a likely points finish. Wickens was later involved in another incident with Status teammate Ivan Lukashevich which was due to be looked at by the stewards after the race.
That left Tege Hegewald and Stefano Coletti in the points, but a scrap between the pair ended with Hegewald in the barriers and Coletti losing fifth to Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
Coletti then had to deal with a recovering Gutierrez for the final laps, but managed to hold the Mexican off to secure the final point.