Meet me halfway: Budapest marks the midway point for the GP3 Series this season.
Four rounds down, four more to go! The action is about to hot up (literally) as we pass the midway point of the 2013 GP3 season and move onto Round 5 in Budapest.
Three weeks ago, Nurburgring hosted Round 4 and it was the in-form Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix) who dominated Race 1 after claiming his first pole, before achieving his maiden GP3 win, pocketing fastest lap as a bonus. However, the Argentine wasn’t so fortunate for Race 2 when a problem on the pre-grid meant he had to start from the pitlane and later retired.
Series leader Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing) continued his rich reign of form with a rostrum finish in Race 1 and further points in Race 2, extending his championship lead. The Cypriot has eight consecutive points’ finishes to his name, the only driver in the category to do so.
Melville McKee was victorious in Race 2 holding off immense pressure from Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims in the dying stages to record his debut win and the first for the Bamboo Engineering squad. McKee was the eighth different winner from eight races showing how competitive the 2013 campaign is.
Ellinas on 91 points holds a 19 point advantage in the Series over Regalia, with Kevin Korjus, Jack Harvey and Conor Daly on 59, 57 and 52 respectively. ART Grand Prix increased their lead in the standings are on 181 with Koiranen GP and MW Arden on 103 and 99 apiece.
The tight and twisty Hungaroring is a demanding circuit for drivers but the biggest challenge facing the 27 competitors this weekend will be the heat, with very high temperatures forecast.
Adderly Fong returns to Status Grand Prix, replacing Sims who stepped into the #18 car for one round, whilst his teammate Josh Webster has a five place grid penalty for Saturday’s race following an incident in Nurburgring.
Pirelli have nominated the Medium tyre for this event.
Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola commented: “The Hungarian Grand Prix will provide a stark contrast to the most recent races at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, two of the faster circuits on the calendar, but even though the Hungaroring is a much slower circuit, it still has plenty of unique challenges which require the utmost concentration from the drivers. Hungary is characterised by its hot ambient temperatures and this weekend will be no different with long-range weather forecasts showing temperatures could reach 40 degrees Celsius on Saturday and Sunday. The heat combined with the twisty, bumpy nature of the circuit can prove very demanding on the tyres. It is also prone to churning up a lot of dust as it is one of the least used circuits of the year. The layout of the Hungaroring makes it extremely difficult for drivers to overtake. For GP3, the crews will have the medium compound at their disposal, and it will be interesting to see how they get on at one of the hottest rounds of the season with the 2013 GP3 car which puts out more than 400 horsepower.”