The seventh round of the 2012 GP3 Championship season took place at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit this weekend and Lotus GP celebrated with another win in the first race. This time it was Daniel Abt scoring his maiden victory, and a podium finish in race two, courtesy of Connor Daly.
After qualifying 3rd, 5th and 7th, the three Lotus GP drivers were aiming for strong results, and Daniel Abt was not disappointing. A brilliant start, combined with a strong race saw the German driver take the lead and avoid the chaos behind him to take the first win of his GP3 career. With a safety car and eventual red flag, and a drastically shortened race, one of the more memorable moments was Abt’s fantastic overtaking manoeuver on the two leaders. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for his teammates, Vainio and Daly, who finished 6th and 7th respectively.
Race two produced another thriller with Daly running side by side with his rivals as he fought to hang onto his second place. Unfortunately, after flatspotting his right front tyre, he slipped back to third. For race one winner, Daniel Abt, and Aaro Vainio, contact on the first lap severely hampered their chances as both lost several places as a result. Abt crossed the line in P5 while Vainio finished 14th.
The next round will take place in Monza this coming weekend with Aaro Vainio hanging onto third place with 123 points, Abt now in fourth on 112.5 points and Daly fifth with 94. Team Lotus GP still hold on tightly to first place in the team’s championship with a 53 point lead over their nearest rival.
"This was really a good weekend for me. In qualifying we were very strong and without me being blocked on my last lap we could have been on pole. But still the 3rd place was good for the race. Race 1 was exciting with that very special overtaking manoeuvre I made to go from P3 to P1. Afterwards I just tried everything to keep first place. Even though the race was short I am quite sure we would have also won it under normal conditions as I could make a gap. I am really happy for the team and myself that we finally achieved a win together! In race 2 I got a got start going to P6 but touched with Ellinas as he ran wide and took out Aaro which also cost me several places. After that my car was damaged but I still went to P5. In the end I am happy with this weekend. We were strong in all conditions. Monza can come!"
"Spa is definitely the best track in the world and I enjoyed racing there a lot with a great car prepared by Lotus GP. Therefore it was frustrating that, for the third time of the season, the race did not give us enough time to show our true potential. Four laps and a red flag, a few points in our bag… best thing was that nobody was seriously hurt. I had an average start on Sunday. Williamson and Laine were aggressive and I thought they were going to hit each other, that’s why I slowed down to 4th gear whilst that happened. I had a good run on Williamson but I knew he was going to catch me because he was much faster than me in the straight. Unfortunately, I flatspotted my right front tyre quite early in the race and then I made a mistake because of it. P3 is still nice but I my aim was to win in Monza, I definitely want another one before the end of the season."
"First problem was qualifying. P7 was worse than the performance we actually had. I made a few mistakes which cost a lot. In race 1 I made a super start, but in the first corner I was just in wrong place. In race 2, on the first lap another guy crashed into me and basically that was it. I re-started from last and finished P14. I was happy to have good pace and good rhythm to overtake. It was a real pity as I felt that the car was really competitive. Our car is strong and next week I'll do the best I can and on Sunday we'll see where that puts me in the championship."
"Lotus GP still has a mathematical chance to defend both titles and we are leading the teams’ one which is always an extremely important achievement. Daniel was brilliant all the way through and he was fast and opportunist, he seized all the occasions to shine. Conor was a great fighter, always very fast but things did not go his way in some key moments. Aaro had his least impressive weekend of the season and that’s a lesson he and we need to learn to be in top shape for the last two races because there won’t be any room for a mistake in Monza."