Conor Daly took the second GP3 race win of his career, with a stellar lights-to-flag victory at the Ricardo Tormo this morning.
The American held ART Grand Prix teammate off for the duration. Koiranen GP’s Kevin Korjus completed the podium.
A good start by Daly ensured a solid advantage on the way into turn one, allowing the 21-year-old to control the pace.
While the gap between the leading pair rarely extended beyond 1.2 seconds, Daly never appeared to be under too much pressure from Regalia. “It was a lot tougher at the start – Facu was really, really fast.” Daly added, “I was pushing hard, but had to think about tyres at the same time and I was hoping he would run his off before I did, so it was tough at the beginning to keep him behind, but when we got to halfway, I established a bit of a gap and held it at that.”
That the pair crossed the line relatively line astern told much of the story from this race.
Following a solid getaway from the front row, Daniil Kvyat succumbed to pressure from Regalia and Korjus on the opening lap, with the Russian running wide in the fourth bend, allowing the chasing pair to pounce. Thereafter Regalia escaped from Korjus, but neither were in a position to further climb the order.
For Regalia, it was his first GP3 podium. “I feel happy, but I wanted to win today, because I think I had the pace. I was trying to put pressure on Daly to force a mistake, but he didn’t, so congratulations to him. I could have made a move in turn eight, but wasn’t close enough.”
Kvyat could do little from 4th. The Russian pressed Korjus for much of the race, but like Regalia ahead, he could do nothing to unseat the 3rd placed man. Carlos Sainz Jr remained on Kvyat’s tail for the most part – a solid result having started 8th.
It was an unspectacular race for Tio Ellinas who ran 6th throughout, after being blocked by Kvyat’s off on the first lap. From thereon, the Cypriot maintained a solid pace in order to preserve tyre life; however the relative small tyre degredation was under estimated and Ellinas could catch the from runner.
There was a similar story for Aaro Vainio who assumed an anonymous 7th after a poor first lap saw him fall three places.
Robert Visoiu took 8th and the reverse grid pole from Dino Zamaparelli four laps from the end. The Romanian pressured Zamaparelli for much of the running, only passing the Anglo-Italian following a mistake. Jack Harvey, on the tail of both, attempted to follow through, only to have the door roughly slammed in the face.
The race was hampered by some silly mistakes on the opening lap. Carmen Jorda spun into retirement all by herself on the final corner of the opening tour.
In a more questionable incident, Adderly Fong rammed Eric Lichtenstein a few corners into the first lap. The Status racer attempted to dive down the inside of the field, only to outbreak himself and most of the midfield runners, before slamming into the side of his Carlin opponent.
Unlike in Barcelona, tyre degradation was rather more civilised, with laptimes around the front the field coming in around the late-1:24’s, before losing approximately two-three seconds by race end. “Our tyres held up really well, so I was happy about that,” noted Daly. He continued, “We struggled in Barcelona [with tyres], but the test in Hungary really helped us a lot. At the beginning I was pushing too hard, but at the end, the tyres were still there. We’ve been working at it and that’s what it takes and we have been rewarded today, so it was good.”
His victory gives Daly the points lead going into this afternoon’s race; however with Daly consigned to 8th on the grid and Ellinas starting 3rd, that may change again.
2013 GP3 Series round of Valencia (Rd 2, Race 1; 18 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Conor Daly ART 25m54.812s 2. Facu Regalia ART + 1.210s 3. Kevin Korjus Koiranen + 3.401s 4. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden + 3.773s 5. Carlos Sainz MW Arden + 4.413s 6. Tio Ellinas Manor + 6.196s 7. Aaro Vainio Koiranen + 9.084s 8. Robert Visoiu MW Arden + 13.504s 9. Dino Zamparelli Manor + 14.145s 10. Jack Harvey ART + 14.547s 11. Melville McKee Bamboo + 20.883s 12. Nick Yelloly Carlin + 20.965s 13. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer + 21.342s 14. Alex Fontana Jenzer + 21.626s 15. Giovanni Venturini Trident + 21.927s 16. Emanuele Zonzini Trident + 22.070s 17. Josh Webster Status + 26.458s 18. Jimmy Eriksson Status + 26.978s 19. Lewis Williamson Bamboo + 27.387s 20. Ryan Cullen Manor + 36.843s 21. Patrick Kujala Koiranen + 46.218s Retirements: Luis Sa Silva Carlin +16 laps Samin Gomez Jenzer +17 laps Carmen Jorda Bamboo +18 laps David Fumanelli Trident +18 laps Adderly Fong Status +18 laps Eric Lichtenstein Carlin +18 laps
2013 GP3 Series points standings (Rd 2, Race 1) Drivers' Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Conor Daly 50 2. Tio Ellinas 47 3. Kevin Korjus 33 4. Aaro Vainio 31 5. Patric Niederhauser 28 6. Facu Regalia 18 7. Jack Harvey 13 8. Nick Yelloly 12 9. Daniil Kvyat 12 10. Carlos Sainz Jr 12 Teams' Championship Pos Team Points 1. ART Grand Prix 81 2. Koiranen GP 64 3. Marussia Manor 49 4. MW Arden 30 5. Jenzer Motorsport 29