Another podium for Conor Daly tightens championship fight

The championship has taken a big turn in the last four races in favor of Daly

Four races ago American Conor Daly was 39 points behind in the European GP3 Championship. After his second, 2nd place finish of the weekend in Spa, Belgium today, Daly has trimmed the deficit to just 14 points. He has also vaulted himself from 6th place to 2nd in the overall standings.

With four races left it was no wonder that many murmured as they left the Spa paddock, 'Game On'. Daly has also built some prized momentum as he has outscored all championship contenders In the last four races.

Conor Daly
Conor Daly

Photo by: GP3 Media Service

The Spa weekend had a challenging start with serious gearbox issues limiting Daly's laps in the first practice session. With minutes to spare and with the gearbox issues fixed, Daly went right to the top of the time charts and ended fastest.

He qualified a disappointing fourth but nailed a good start and grabbed second place at the first corner. A measure of how close the GP3 grids can be was evident when a mere seven thousandths would have moved Daly from fourth place up to the front row. Although he challenged and pressured eventual winner, Russian Danil Kvyat, he could not overtake him. "I just didn't have enough pace," said Daly. "I got close but not close enough, but knowing the championship position, I'm happy to get 2nd place points."

For race two Daly would start in seventh place because the top eight finishers from race one get inverted. The track was very damp in places, particularly at the first corner. When the lights went out, it was Daly again who shot off the line and was quickly by at least three cars.

As he ran along the pit lane wall he made an attempt to pass front row starter, Melville McKee but immediately realized that the track was too wet to brake late and backed off just before McKee locked his brakes and slammed into the pole sitter, Cyproit Tio Ellinas.

A group of four cars exited the first corner fighting for grip and as they entered the flat out Eau Rough corner, Daly had muscled his way into third place. McKee was given a drive through penalty and Daly started his chase of leader, Alex Sims. Sims set fastest lap of the race initially before Daly bettered it.

Try as he might, Sims was just too fast and Daly again took a second place points haul. "I saw the crash right in front of me and I was hoping that I could miss any debris," said Daly. "Eau Rouge in the damp is a real handful but it felt good...I suppose I have to be satisfied with a second place finish from seventh on the grid."

The championship has taken a big turn in the last four races in favor of Daly. He will now go to Monza in two weeks for the last of the European races feeling reasonably confident that with the best team in the paddock, he should be in good shape. The finals will take place in Abu Dhabi in November at the superb new Yas Marina circuit.

"I'm going to stay on the same path of preparation as I've been on," said Daly. "Qualifying at Monza will be critical and I will start my preparation this week. I'm up for making this championship a real fight. Right now it's Argentina and America in first and second...stay tuned."

Daly drives for the French based ART Grand Prix team, which is regarded as one of Europe's best junior teams. Past drivers to have gone through ART include current Formula One drivers such as; Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Sutil, Jules Bianchi and Paul DiResta.

ART Grand Prix

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About this article
Series GP3
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Jules Bianchi , Conor Daly , Tio Ellinas , Melville McKee
Teams ART Grand Prix
Article type Race report
Tags art gp, belgium, dalyl, gp3, spa