Wickens scores podium finish in first GP3 race
Barcelona, Spain, 8th May 2010: Rising Canadian star Robert Wickens put in a sterling performance to secure a second place finish in the inaugural GP3 Series race in Barcelona this afternoon to kick off his championship bid in strong fashion.
Starting from third on the grid, Wickens grabbed second when the lights went out and set off after leader Pal Varhaug. However, the start also brought disappointment for Status Grand Prix. The team's GMH Motorsport-backed driver Daniel Morad, who had started alongside Wickens on the second row, was hit from behind and spun out of the race. The blameless Morad was tagged on the left-rear side by another car and slid across the track and brushed the wall, spoiling his excellent qualifying and ending his race instantly.
Wickens continued focused on Varhaug's tail, and got a good run on him going into Turn One for the second time around but with yellow caution flags waving he had to back out of the move. From there he tried everything, but there was no way to pass the Norwegian and Wickens also spent the latter half of the race fending off ART Grand Prix driver Esteban Gutierrez to take a well-earned podium finish. With the top eight finishers reversed on the grid for Sunday's race, Wickens will start seventh and continue his quest for more points.
The race also went well for Marussia Motors development driver Ivan Lukashevich, who from 27th on the grid made up six places on the first lap and then enjoyed a race-long scrap with MW Arden driver Leonardo Cordeiro. He lapped on the same pace as the Top 10 runners, showing true progression that eventually netted a 19th place finish.
The Drivers' View
Robert Wickens (CAN): (Race Result: 2nd).
"It's a great start to my title campaign by getting some good points today, and a podium is a fitting reward for the Status GP team - it shows how good they are. My start was badly affected by the polesitter [Nigel Melker] bogging down, but once in second it was hard to overtake. But we'll do our best to pass people tomorrow and get more points."
Daniel Morad (LIB): (Race result: Rtd).
"I got a great start, was alongside the polesitter and edging ahead. He kept coming across though and finally tagged my left rear and spun me round - I could do nothing about it. I'm positive, though, and have a clear mind for tomorrow. Starting at the back is challenging but it'll be good to be back in the racing groove."
Ivan Lukashevich (RUS): (Race Result: 19th).
"To get a finish was good, and I realised how much I've missed racing these last 18 months! I really enjoyed it. My pace was better than I've been before, consistently just one second off the leaders. I was maybe a little conservative in the early laps in all the dicing, but it was important to get a full race distance under my belt and move on from here. This is a good platform for me and I know I can keep improving."
-source: status gp