MW Arden driver Mitch Evans maintained his strong start to the GP3 Series season with a canny drive to fifth place during the second race of the weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. Lining up eighth on the reverse grid, after his stellar victory yesterday afternoon, the New Zealander moved up to sixth place as the race began chaotically, with three cars eliminated in a startline accident that triggered an immediate safety car period. After the race resumed, at the end of lap four, Evans gained one place when Aaro Vainio (Tech 1) was penalised for jumping the start and then maintained his position to the chequered flag.
It was a positive day for team-mate Lewis Williamson, too. The Scot made a brilliant start from 14th to run in the top 10, but it is notoriously difficult to pass in Barcelona and he finished eighth after being unable to make significant further progress.
Simon Trummer started brightly, too, in the third MW Arden car. Having moved up from 27th to 19th, he survived a late clash with Dean Storey (Addax) but was then bundled off the road by Pedro Nunes (ART). With just one lap remaining, his car was left beached in the Turn Five gravel.
“I wanted to make a better start than yesterday, which I did, but it was a funny situation with some cars jumping the lights and others stalling. After four laps behind the safety car, I restarted fairly well and had a clean race from that point. I was struggling a little to nurse my left rear tyre, but I was happy with my pace and pleased to score another two points. I am still very inexperienced at this level, so to lie third in the championship at this stage of the season is incredibly positive.”
“I was struggling to get my front tyres up to temperature and didn’t initially feel at one with the car. I battled with understeer in the early stages of the race and then spent most of my time in traffic. It’s always difficult to pass here and following other cars closely really affects the aero balance, but I did my best to conserve the rear tyres and gather as much data as possible for future races. My pace was pretty good when I managed clear laps, so I’m encouraged by that. We have a good platform on which to build in the forthcoming test sessions and I’m sure that will help me get a better understanding of how to get the most from the car at crucial moments of the weekend.”
“What can I say? I had made good progress and was still pushing, pushing, pushing, but then Nunes drove into me and finished my race – frustrating for me, but probably even more so for him because the stewards have given him a 10-place grid penalty for the next race, in Valencia. I thought it was a completely unnecessary accident, but that’s motor racing.”
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.