25/06/2012

Valencia

 

Lotus GP secured another 2 podium finishes at the third round of the 2012 GP3 Championship when Aaro Vainio and Daniel Abt delivered second place finishes in race one and two respectively around the streets of Valencia in Spain.

After topping the free practice session, two and half tenths faster than his second placed Lotus teammate, Conor Daly, Vainio qualified third on the grid with Daly in seventh and Abt in tenth. However, a ten placed grid drop for Daly saw Daniel Abt start from ninth place.

Right from the start of race one, Vainio was on a mission and snatched P2 off the lights and never looked back. Daly’s woes continued when after lining up 16th due to his ten place grid drop, he received yet another penalty for jumping the start. He was up to 13th at the time. However thanks to some strong racing and an eventful race, he crossed the line in 11th.

Daniel Abt had a battle of his own as he fought tooth and nail for his sixth place finish, the victor of a major tussle with Kevin Ceccon. While the ORT driver managed to actually get past on several occasions, he would then out-brake himself and give Daniel back the position.

Sunny conditions continued for race two where Abt made a brilliant start from third on the grid and he was in the lead down the straight, however Niederhauser squeezed back past to regain his position as head of the race and Daniel drove a brilliant race to cross the line close behind him in second place.

Sadly, there were more problems for Conor Daly as he was mixed up in a first lap incident involving two other drivers, putting all three out of the race. As a result of the confusion, Vainio lost a place to Mitch Evans but he reclaimed the place only to lose it again when he overshot his braking point. He crossed the line in seventh place overall.

As the series heads to the home of Motorsport, Silverstone, Vainio is second in the drivers’ championship, four points behind first on 74 while Daniel Abt moves into third with 42 and Daly drops to 11th with 23 points to his name. Lotus GP is second in the team standings on 139 points, just 12 shy of first place.

Aaro Vainio: P3 was not too bad in qualifying even though we had good pace on Friday. We changed our strategy a little bit for qualifying and the good thing was that I was on the clean side of the track. I had a good start and it was quite close on the first lap but then we pulled away. I was really quick in the first and middle part of the race but I made a mistake and lost a second and a half.

From then on, I tried to cool down so I could secure the fastest lap but I made another small mistake and backed off because to finish second was a very good result.

Unfortunately I did not finish in front of Evans on Sunday but I'm just 4 points behind him in the championship, which will be long. We have to stay focused and be consistently in the points.

Daniel Abt: I am really happy with my second place after a very difficult start to the weekend with speed problems on the straight that made me really slow. But everyone in the team really gave their best to help and try and fix the problem. which is fine now I believe. On Saturday, I had a tough race defending 6th place every lap. In race 2 I had a really good start which nearly put me into the lead. In the end it was P2, which is still good and being P3 in the championship makes me really happy. More points to take in the next races!

Conor Daly: Well, this is definitely a weekend to forget between the penalty and my mistakes. I qualified P7 but saved a set of new tyres. Alas, I stalled and got a drive through penalty because of a jump start. I am so thankful that I am driving for the Lotus GP team. All the guys work so hard and give me such a great car to drive. I am learning from my mistakes and things will be much better at Silverstone!

Frederic Vasseur: All in all we've been competitive with our three drivers and we got it right with the car and the tyres. Having said that we missed a bit of performance to fight for both wins but the overall result is good with Aaro and Daniel 2nd and 3rd in the championship. They've been strong and in control. Conor was very fast but it was always going to be tough starting so far back on the grid in the first race.