Buller claims maiden victory

Northern Irishman takes victory at home race

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 08/07/12 4:56pm

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William Buller claimed his maiden GP3 victory in the second race of the weekend at Silverstone.

The result wrapped up a delgithful double for British squad Carlin after Antonio Felix Da Costa won Saturday's opening race.

As rain started to fall as the teams made their final preparations on the grid, tyre strategy was key and Buller gambled on starting on slicks.

Kevin Cecccon got away well from pole, and Tio Ellinas came from the second row of the grid to get ahead of Alex Brundle and into P2.

But, the best start of anyone came from championship leader Mitch Evans, who stormed from seventh on the grid to third.

Da Costa followed him through the pack and found a way past Evans, while upfront Ellinas had got past Ceccon and opened up a 3.2-second gap by the end of the third lap.

But as the track dried, the drivers who had started on wets began to struggle.

It was clear that the dry tyre was the one to be using and by the midway point of the race, Buller was up to sixth and setting purple sectors, as Evans spun at Luffield.

As drivers started to pit to change tyres, Patric Niederhauser took the lead of the race and Buller fought his way through to second, as Conor Daly, who had also started on dry tyres also made his move.

Northern Ireland's Buller closed the gap on Niederhauser, overtook the Swiss driver and then proceeded to open a large gap at the front.

He crossed the chequered flag with an eight-second lead to celebrate his maiden victory, with Daly enjoying a solid points score. Niederhauser hung onto the final spot on the rostrum after nursing his wet tyres home to the finish.

"This has to be one of the best victories of my career," a delighted Buller said.

"It was really disappointing yesterday to go out of the race at the start and of course at that point I thought my weekend was over. We could see that conditions were changeable this morning and it made sense to take a risk from the back of the grid on slicks.

"It was really tricky to stay on track in the early stages, but then it just got easier and easier and I was overtaking car after car every lap! The car felt great so thanks to the team. It was a great victory and fantastic to stand on the top step at my home Grand Prix."

With the top two in the Drivers' Standings failing to score points, Evans continues to lead by 11 from Aaro Vainio, with Felix Da Costa closing the gap in third.

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