September 4, 2017

Arden trio close to the podium at Monza GP3

Niko Kari and Steijn Schothorst were racing hard for 4th position in the sole GP3 race at Monza this weekend.

Niko Kari and Steijn Schothorst were racing hard for 4th position in the sole GP3 race at Monza this weekend, however on track incidents near the end of the race saw the duo finish outside the top positions.

The GP3 Series arrived at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for back-to-back races following Spa-Francorchamps just one week ago.

Free Practise turned out to be crucial for the Arden drivers, where Schothorst set the 6th fastest time, Leonardo Pulcini set the 7th fastest time and Red Bull Junior Niko Kari was 14th fastest.

Qualifying on the Saturday morning was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions that left the track with too much standing water in order to complete the session – therefore the qualifying grid was dictated by the Free Practise Classification.

Race one was scheduled to start at 17:40 on Saturday, however due to the weather playing havoc with the schedule, requiring the Formula One Qualifying Session to be extended by over two hours to completed – the first race was rescheduled for Sunday morning, with the partially reversed race two cancelled due to time constraints.

Sunday morning on a green track saw the GP3 drivers take to the track. Schothorst made a great start up to 4th position, as did Kari who made up nine positions in the opening exchanges to slot in just behind his teammate. Pulcini had a tardy getaway in his home race, dropping down the grid on the long run into the first chicane – being forced to go through the run-off area in the process.

As the cars ran into the Roggia Chicane after the slipstreaming battle through Curva Grande. Schothorst and Kari emerged unscathed, however Pulcini was caught out by Alessio Lorandi infront –
launching his Arden machine onto the back of his fellow countryman, carrying them both into the barriers and triggering a lengthy safety car period.

The barriers were repaired from extensive damage, with Pulcini extracted from the car and taken to the medical centre for checks – he was confirmed ok after examination.

The race restarted on lap nine, as the two Arden teammates went wheel to wheel through the chicane. Kari made his way past Schothorst on the run into the first Lesmo and broke away from the chasing pack in 4th position, in pursuit of the ART trio ahead.

Schothorst was under pressure from cars infront and behind him, as he got himself back up into 5th position two laps later. A Virtual Safety Car was deployed when Juan Correa hit the back of his Jenzer
Motorsport teammate, taking himself out of the race in the process and covering the track with debris.

On the restart, Kari was safe in 4th position whilst Schothorst had to resist a train of cars behind him. Arjun Maini set a late move over the sausage kerb on the exit of the Roggia chicane, forcing both
himself and Schothorst into the gravel and dropped down the order.

In the closing stages of the race, as the tyres wore down – Kari’s car got loose in the first Lesmo, as the Finn corrected the slide, he simply ran out of road before the rear wheel went over the still damp rumble strip – spitting the car into the barrier and out of the race.
The race finished under the safety car, with Schothorst the sole Arden finisher in 12th position.

The team were very close to a double strong points score, sadly it wasn’t to be – but the team will be back in action at the Circuito de Jerez on the 6-8 October for the penultimate round of the 2017 GP3 Season.

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