The summer break has felt like an eternity but the GP3 Series is ready to roar as we approach the legendary Spa- Francorchamps circuit for the penultimate round of the 2012 season.
The sweltering city of Budapest hosted Round 6 back at the end of July and it was Carlin’s Antonio Felix Da Costa who stole all the headlines. The Portuguese star made history after becoming the first driver in GP3 to secure double victories during a race weekend. To make his weekend extra special, he also grabbed the extra points on offer for fastest lap in both races to stage his fightback in the chance of grabbing the GP3 crown. Daniel Abt and Mitch Evans Felix Da Costa finished on the rostrum in Race 1.
GP3 Series again treated fans to some entertaining races with weather conditions coming into play ahead of Race 2 with the right strategic calls: key to a strong race. Positions were swapping throughout the field and the drivers had to use their head to manage their tyres to provide a thrilling finish. Patric Niederhauser and Tamas Pal Kiss came second and third, although a penalty for the Hungarian driver after the race dropped the Atech driver outside of the top eight, thus promoting Alex Brundle to third and his best finish so far in the GP3 Series.
The GP3 Series rookies are eager for their first encounter at the famous Spa circuit, a track noted by most drivers as being the most challenging and enjoyable thanks to the demanding Eau Rouge corner. As typical with the Belgian racetrack, early forecasts suggest rain during the weekend but this time much cooler conditions than what the GP3 Series has had to contend with throughout 2012, something else the drivers will have to conquer.
The battle is still on to take the GP3 Series crown and it’s Mitch Evans in pole position with a 17 point advantage over Aaro Vainio and 34 points over Felix Da Costa. The debutants to the series are also hot on the tails with Abt and Niederhauser keen to end the season as best placed rookie. Lotus GP top the Teams Standings on 294 points, MW Arden have 245 and Jenzer Motorsport are third on 139.
There is one change in the driver line-up this weekend, John Wartique from Belgium will feature in his home race replacing Facu Regalia at Atech CRS GP. Don’t miss Round 7 of the GP3 Series, a superb racing track, inconsistent weather conditions and two championships to be decided as the fight goes down to the wire, here we go!
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Our tyres are designed to be as adaptable as possible to a very wide range of conditions, and nowhere is this more in evidence than at Spa, which puts a huge amount of energy through the tyres, in terms of both lateral and longitudinal forces. As well as the fast corners and straights, there are also some huge compressions at places like Eau Rouge, which place some of the highest physical demands on the tyres that we see all year. Not only that, but there are often extremes of weather that mean it can be raining on one part of the track but completely dry on another part.
"This makes it crucial to get the timing of the pit stops exactly right, as well as the actual choice of tyres. With the championships so closely poised as we approach the end of the season every decision will be crucial, but as always it will come down to the skill of the drivers to make the difference. That applies to both GP2 and GP3, with the young drivers in each series all determined to make it all the way to the top.”