Richie Stanaway stuns in 'surreal' win at Monaco
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Tauranga racing driver Richie Stanaway has driven to victory on the streets of Monaco, taking his maiden victory in the GP2 single-seater category which is the main support series to Formula 1.
Stanaway's win is the biggest success for a Kiwi driver at Monaco since Denny Hulme's 1967 grand prix victory and follows up three GP2 podium finishes by Mitch Evans in 2012 and 2013.
Early yesterday, Stanaway, 23, led from start to finish in the GP2 sprint race, leading home Ferrari academy driver Raffaele Marciello (Italy). His win followed up a seventh place in Friday's GP2 feature race.
Stanaway had been a leading contender throughout the Monaco weekend but had damaged the front wing of his Status GP entry against a barrier during qualifying.
He started 14th in the 40-lap feature race and made progress on the narrow and twisty Monaco track to finish seventh.
The grid for the 30-lap sprint race inverted the top eight finishers from the feature race and earned Stanaway an outside front row opportunity. He beat Marciello into the first corner and controlled the race for the full distance to win by two seconds.
Satus GP and Stanaway are both new to the GP2 category this year, having moved up from the GP3 category.
"It feels quite surreal to win here in Monaco today and of all the places to win your first GP2 race, this has to be the best," said Stanaway.
"GP2 is still so new to me and with this just being my third race weekend it really is a fantastic feeling. Success gives you confidence and builds momentum which is what we needed."
Stanaway's drive drew praise from Status GP managing director David Kennedy.
"This is just the best result that you can have in your maiden GP2 season," Kennedy said.
"Richie showed the incredible speed and talent that he has and he is a thoroughly deserving winner, having controlled the race from start to finish."
The Monaco effort added 21 points to Stanaway's season tally and has lifted him to ninth place in the GP2 standings.
Stanaway's 2015 programme combines the GP2 series with a drive for Aston Martin Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
He was part of the winning GTE-Pro class winning team at the recent 6 Hours of Spa in Belgium and this coming weekend he is back on endurance duty for Aston Martin at the pre-Le Mans 24 Hours test day.
The Le Mans 24 Hours is on June 13-14 and the GP2 Series resumes at the Austrian GP over the June 20-21 weekend.