It was a challenging weekend for Lotus in GP3 at the Valencia Street Circuit, but the team picked up second-place finishes in both the sprint and feature races in the third round of the 2012 GP3 Series.
On Saturday, Aaro Vainio took second place in the GP3 feature race which saw MW Arden’s Mitch Evans deliver a lights-to-flag victory. Vainio qualified in third, with Conor Daly in P7 and Daniel Abt in P10. A great start allowed Vanio to stick within half a second of Evans for the bulk of the race, but as tyres started to degrade in the closing stages the MW Arden driver was able to extend his lead while claiming additional points for setting the fastest lap.
In Race 2, Abt got a stunning start from third on the grid, bypassing the men ahead to claim the lead at Turn 1, but Patric Neiderhauser had reclaimed the lead by Turn 2 and set about extending his lead with every passing lap. Vainio, meanwhile, finished seventh, and Daly retired on lap 8 as the result of a lap 1 crash with John Wartique. Daly was given a 10-place grid penalty for the British Grand Prix for his part in the collision.
After three races, Vainio sits second in the drivers’ championship behind Race 1 winner Mitch Evans, while Abt is third. Lotus GP is second in the teams’ championship with a deficit of 12 points.
Daniel Abt: “I think today was definitely a good race. The start of the weekend was really bad for me, I struggled for speed, I am not sure why. We tried various different set-ups and we got it fixed for today. My start was good like always and I was quite close to getting P1 at the beginning but it’s still good to score points like this. I am now third in the championship which is better than I would expect from looking at my earlier results. So yes, I am happy.”