Art claims teams’ GP2 and GP3 title in Bahrain: GP3 driver title to be decided in Abu Dhabi
ART Grand Prix driver Stoffel Vandoorne won the first GP2 race in Bahrain to claim the teams’ crown alongside his driver world title clinched in Russia. Meanwhile, Luca Ghiotto took his fifth GP3 Series win of the year to reclaim the drivers championship lead and set up a title decider in Abu Dhabi next weekend. For GP2 the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres were nominated, with GP3 running the medium compound only. Bahrain was a comparatively late addition to the calendar, brought in to replace the scheduled German round that was cancelled. With a previous race in Bahrain earlier in the year, the GP2 drivers were able to benefit from past experience, whereas for the GP3 drivers, it was new territory.
Vandoorne started from second on the grid in the GP2 feature race (behind DAMS driver Pierre Gasly) but took the lead on the opening lap and then controlled his advantage before making his mandatory pit stop with 10 laps to go. He maintained the effective lead of the race to finish 13 seconds ahead of his team mate Nobuharu Matsushita, having displayed perfect tyre management.
The 2015 GP2 champion said: “Definitely it was a race where you have to look after your tyres. Bahrain always is. This track always provides good races for everybody and particularly tricky on tyres. At the beginning I set my own pace, which I felt was good enough to keep the distance with the medium tyres. With the soft it was just bringing it home. After the pit stop I was just warming up the tyres and trying to get the fastest lap, which I did. That’s always a nice bonus when you win a race.”
DAMS driver Alex Lynn started on the reverse grid pole for the sprint race on Saturday, and then had a frenetic battle with Russian Time driver Mitch Evans, who eventually claimed his second win of the season, having started from sixth on the grid. The race was briefly interrupted by a safety car, which affected the tyre management strategies, with all drivers using medium from start to finish.
In the GP3 feature race, Marvin Kirchhofer won from fifth on the grid on Friday to take his fourth win of the year. Together with third for Esteban Ocon, this was enough to hand ART the GP3 teams’ title for the fifth time in six years. Controlling tyre wear though was a key factor throughout the 20-lap race.
It was a similar story on Sunday, when Trident’s Luca Ghiotto also claimed a win from fifth on the grid, having worked his way up to the lead on lap two – before a red flag halted the race. Ghiotto led again after the re-start, showing perfect knowledge of how to get the best from his tyres, to set up a title-decider next weekend in Abu Dhabi at the final round of the season.
The Italian said: “The tyre wear was under control for me: when you are in front you have no problem with the downforce from the car in front. Anyway I think we made a step forward with the balance of the car. It’s not just about being alone at the front; it’s about car set-up; so I’m really thankful and happy with the team. I didn’t adapt so quickly to this track but together we sorted out my issues and improved the car also. That shows again that we are doing an amazing job.”
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola concluded: “As always tyre management was an important factor in Bahrain, given the high levels of thermal degradation. In both series, the drivers who did the best job with this were able to reap the benefits. We saw lively and closely fought races in both series, underlining the closeness of the competition. So congratulations to ART for clinching the teams’ title in both GP2 and GP3. Now we look forward to an exciting GP3 driver title decider in Abu Dhabi next weekend, during which the competitors will be able to use many of the lessons learned this weekend in Bahrain.”
The next and final round of the GP2 and GP3 Series will be in Abu Dhabi from 27-29 November.
|ART Grand Prix - GP2 Team Champion 2015|
|GP3 feature race winner, Marvin Kirchhofer|
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