Wickens takes championship lead in Barcelona race
Barcelona, Spain, 9th May 2010: Robert Wickens vaulted into the lead of the GP3 Series Championship after taking another strong points finish in the second race at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.
The Canadian followed up his second place finish in race one by coming through to take fourth place, which was enough to give him a one-point lead to take into the next event at the Turkish Grand Prix in three weeks' time.
With the top eight finishers from yesterday starting race two in reverse order, Wickens made up one place at the start from seventh on the grid and joined the lead battle. Having passed Carlin's Dean Smith, and gaining another place when Jean-Eric Vergne was given a penality, Wickens latched onto the back of Esteban Gutierrez's car and the duo battled for third for the remaining laps. With four laps to go Wickens got alongside the Mexican going into Turn One, but Gutierrez defended well and Wickens opted not to risk losing points and brought it home safely in fourth to top the standings.
Marussia Motors development driver Ivan Lukashevich completed his weekend of good progress by finishing 19th - the same position achieved in race one, and the position on the grid he started race two. A good getaway off the line was hindered when he encountered a start-line accident and had to back off, but from there he drove a mistake-free race and picked up places for post a second Top 20 finish that gives the 18-year-old Russian an excellent platform to build on during the season.
Lebanon's Daniel Morad, starting from the back of the grid after being hit and spun out on race one, tried all he could to charge through the field. But after a great start netted four places before the first corner, he found his progress frustrated as overtaking proved extremely difficult in the long train of midfield cars. In the end, he had to settle for a 22nd-place finish, but took the positives of getting some racing miles under his belt and using the track time to further develop his car for the Turkish event.
The Drivers' View
Robert Wickens (CAN): (Race Result: 4th).
"My engineer Matt and the guys did a great job with the car overnight - it was fantastic to drive today. But when I got alongside Gutierrez I decided not to take any risks - to secure the three points was important. There are 30 ambitious drivers out there and this year you'll have to take every opportunity you can to score. To lead now is a strong start."
Daniel Morad (LIB): (Race result: 22nd).
"The positive I can take out of this race is that again I got a good start and passed four cars. But once there's a train of cars on this track it's a follow-my-leader race. The good news is that Turkey is only three weeks away - we know we have a quick car and I'm looking forward to getting the results we're capable of there. It can't come soon enough."
Ivan Lukashevich (RUS): (Race Result: 19th).
"I got off the line well but was really delayed by the accident ahead of me. From then on it was difficult to make progress, but to finish my first race weekend at this level with two Top 20 finishes is a pretty good start. The next step for me now is to finish in the top half of the field and then work towards getting in the Top 10."
-source: status gp