GP3: Stoneman and Niederhauser close out season with wins

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ABU DHABI – The 2014 GP3 Series season came to a close in Abu Dhabi this weekend with Dean Stoneman and Patric Niederhauser claiming one race win apiece on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Stoneman had been the only driver with a chance of stopping Red Bull junior driver Alex Lynn from winning the championship, but fell out of contention when he failed to secure pole position on Friday.

However, a great start in the feature race saw Stoneman pass pole-sitter Marvin Kirchhofer and move into the lead off the line. He slowly began to eke out a lead over the German driver, but was given very little breathing space throughout the race. At the flag, Stoneman was victorious, but by just 0.8 seconds.

The battle between Stoneman and Kirchhofer was for second place in the championship, making Sunday’s race a final chance for both drivers to pick up the points needed to finish as vice-champion. Thanks to the reverse grid rule, Stoneman started from eighth place with Kirchhofer one place ahead.

Pole-sitter Nick Yelloly made a poor start to relinquish the lead at the first corner to Switzerland’s Patric Niederhauser. The Arden driver didn’t look back, storming to his third win of the season by 4.9 seconds from Yelloly and Lynn.

Kirchhofer’s hopes of finishing second in the championship looked dashed when he stalled on the grid, forcing the ART engineers to wheel him into the pit lane. However, Stoneman himself hit trouble on the first lap when contact was made at the first chicane, forcing him to retire. The resulting safety car period allowed Kirchhofer to catch the pack, and with just three points needed to move ahead of Stoneman, he had a glimmer of hope once again.

Although Kirchhofer did manage to fight his way up to P12 at the flag, it simply wasn’t enough, meaning that Stoneman finished his first full GP3 season as runner-up behind compatriot Alex Lynn.

Lynn is known to be in the running for a Formula 1 drive with Toro Rosso next season, but with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Jean-Eric Vergne also vying for the place, it could well be that a move into either GP2 or Formula Renault 3.5 is more likely.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined from Supercross by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.