Round 1 of the 2017 GP3 series took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Northern Spain. Jack headed into the weekend in a confident mood, having enjoyed consistent lap times and strong results during pre-season testing.
Friday testing went as planned, with qualifying taking place early on Saturday morning. After the first set of laps. Jack sat 3rd in the order. As the session came to a close and the drivers put in final laps, the Anglo-Korean driver put in a sensational lap to take pole position by 2/10th’s of a second. In the process he also set the fastest lap ever recorded by a GP3 car at the Barcelona venue.
Saturday afternoon’s race got off to a good start, with Jack slotting into second position behind his team mate. As the mid way point of the race approached, he started to close in on the rear wing of his ART team mate, and prepared to make a move for the lead. When he was under 5/10ths of a second behind, disaster struck with a mechanical gremlin halting his progress. Post-race analysis determined the issue to be as a result of a faulty sensor on the engine. The knock on effect of this meant Jack had to start Sunday’s race from last position on the grid as the first retiree.
Sunday’s race proved uneventful, on a track which is notoriously difficult to overtake. Nevertheless, a charge through the pack yielded a 12th place finish, and some valuable usage of DRS – the new for 2017 overtaking aid.
Round 2 takes place in just under 2 months time, with one test session in the meantime.
Jack Aitken, ART Grand Prix: “We started the year in the best possible way with a strong pole position on Saturday morning, which was a testament to the pace we have. I dropped to P2 at the start, getting some wheel spin, and then the DRS did not activate when we were closest to P1!
I dropped back and then began attacking again later, only for an engine fault to stop our race. Starting from the back in Race 2 was always going to be difficult on one of the hardest circuits to overtake at, but we still managed to get to P12 and kept our nose clean. We at least know our pace is really strong, and head to Red Bull Ring sure of a better weekend!”