For Round 3 of the season GP3 is heading to the Valencia Street Circuit, giving the thirty racers the exciting new challenge of a street circuit. The 5.41 kilometre track winds through the historic city around the Juan Carlos I Marina, which includes a spectacular 140-metre long swing bridge. And after a three week break since the last round in Turkey the drivers will be refreshed and ready to confront the demanding 25-turn lap.
Round 2 in Istanbul yet again proved what an exciting and unpredictable season of racing we are already having in 2010. RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker snatched another brilliant pole position, but again the Dutch driver was unable to capitalise on his front row start. Instead it was ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Gutiérrez who led from start to finish pocketing a deserved maiden victory in the Series.
Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto was the surprise race two winner. The Indonesian driver only managed a lowly eighteenth spot in qualifying, but charged through the field to finish eighth in race one and claim the last point and reversed pole for race two. Haryanto then kept his cool and drove the perfect race taking a lights to flag victory.
After claiming his first victory in Istanbul Esteban Gutiérrez is now the man leading the drivers’ standings heading to Spain. The ART Grand Prix driver currently has 22 points, and is five points clear of his nearest rival and teammate Alexander Rossi. After failing to score any points last time out Robert Wickens has dropped to third in the standings with 11 points. Thanks to strong performances from both Gutièrrez and Rossi ART Grand Prix has extended its lead at the top of the teams standings – the French team currently has 40 points, an impressive 21 points ahead of Jenzer Motorsport in second spot.
The new soft-compound Pirelli tyre will make its debut in Valencia. The first two rounds of the Series saw the driver making use of Pirelli's medium compound tyre. However, the demands of a street circuit differ to that of a permanent track as the grip can be more varied and the surfaces more aggressive. Pirelli's Racing Manager Mario Isola explains:
"Valencia is a great circuit but it is not at all easy for the cars, drivers and tyres. The first time that the drivers will try our soft compound tyres will be during practice on Friday, and I think that they will notice quite a difference from the tyres they have used on the previous two rounds. We have made the tyres degrade more, but they will also provide more performance early on in the race. These are the tyre characteristics that the drivers will increasingly experience as their careers advance up the motorsport ladder, so it's great to get them used to looking after their tyres from a young age."
We have three driver changes of note in Valencia. Carlin’s Lucas Foresti and Tech 1 Racing’s Jean Eric Vergne are back, and Spaniard Roberto Mehri takes over the #29 Atech CRS GP car from Patrick Reiterer.
The action will start this Friday with a practice session at 17:00 pm local time so check the website for all the latest news and results.
Friday 28th May
16:50 – 17:20 Practice Session
Saturday 29th May
08:45 – 19:15 Qualifying Session
17:20 Race 1 (14 laps/30 minutes)
Sunday 30th May
09:25 Race 2 (14 laps/30 minutes)