The third season of the GP3 Series kicked off in Barcelona for Round 1 of the 2012 campaign and it was a thrilling start to the year with both rookies and the more experienced drivers impressing at the Circuit de Catalunya.
It was Carlin’s Antonio Felix Da Costa who grabbed the first pole position of the year, however Daniel Abt (Lotus GP) and the Carlin driver were both penalised for making jump starts after initially heading the race. Mitch Evans then moved into the lead and was able to maintain the gap to Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) until the chequered flag. Jenzer Motorsport’s Robert Visoiu started Race 2 from reverse pole but Tio Ellinas took the lead but was deemed to have made a jump start and received a penalty. Conor Daly (Lotus GP) went P1 and secured his debut victory in the Series ahead of Visoiu and Matias Laine (MW Arden).
Evans leads the Drivers Standings on 25 points and has a two point lead over Daly and Vainio on 23.
For the first time in the Series’ history, GP3 will race at the infamous Monaco! Monte Carlo is an extremely challenging circuit, one the drivers are extremely eager to get to grips with to impress as no mistake goes unpunished around the Principality. 18 laps of the 3.340 km track will be a mouth-watering prospect for the feisty class of 2012, there is action guaranteed!
Qualifying will be split into two groups for Monaco weekend: Group A will feature the odd numbered cars and Group B will be the even numbered cars. Each session will last 14 minutes long and the fastest driver overall from the two groups will claim pole position. A ballot will decide which of the two groups will run first. The second place on the grid will be awarded to the driver who has achieved the fastest time in the other group.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola commented: “The new tyre rules for GP2 are an exciting development that will introduce a bigger element of tyre strategy and management to the race weekend, making the GP2 Series even better preparation for the very pinnacle of racing. With two sets of the softer compound available to them at any point in Monaco, the GP2 drivers will need to think really carefully about when to use them, but they will end up with more experience of running on a faster compound, which needs to be wisely managed. For both the GP2 and GP3 drivers, Monaco is sure to be one of the biggest challenges that they will face all year. The key to success is staying out of trouble, so our P Zero compounds are designed to give as much control and precision to the drivers as possible. With very little aerodynamic downforce available, the cars rely mostly on mechanical grip.”