Drama was high from the start of the GP3 weekend, as the Free Practice session was forced to be re-scheduled due to adverse weather conditions on Friday morning – meaning the session was ran just before qualifying and severely hampered a number of run programmes.
Qualifying was difficult for the team, with Joey Mawson the lead Arden driver in 14th position, two ahead of teammate Gabriel Aubry in 16th, who likewise was just ahead of Julian Falchero in 18th position.
Race 1 of the weekend took place in wet conditions, following overnight rain. Melee ensued at Turn 1, with multiple drivers going through the escape road and cutting the corner, with the three Arden’s coming out unscathed from the opening corners – until Aubry came to a halt at the end of the opening lap, where a technical issue put him out of the race through no fault of his own.
Mawson emerged in 12th position after a strong opening lap that gained him three positions, with Falchero also still in the race in the treacherous conditions.
A battle was brewing for 10th position, which Mawson had joined on Lap 15. Sadly, Falchero had picked up a slow puncture, which later resulting in a catastrophic tyre failure – pitching him helplessly out of the race.
Despite his best efforts to move into the points, Mawson finished in 12th position, just 0.160s off 11th position, after the Trident car ahead put in a staunch defence in the closing stages.
The second race of the weekend started with the track dry, but low grip as the action got under way early Sunday morning.
All drivers made it through the first chicane and into the second sector, until the luckless Aubry suffered a big accident on the way into the Ascari Chicane. The Jenzer Motorsport car of Juan Manuel Correa lost control on the straight and collected the innocent Aubry, taking him out of the race – with Falchero just avoiding being caught up in the aftermath as well.
The race restarted with Mawson up to 9th position, battling for the final points paying positions and Falchero was running in 17th.
Tyre degradation began to play its part in the race, as the drivers had to balance managing their tyres alongside making progress and defending their positions from the pack behind using DRS.
Mawson’s challenge for points faded in the closing stages, where despite having the pace of the leaders, he was hit from behind by the Campos of Leonardo Pulcini, knocking him to the rear of the field. The Australian crossed the line in 15th position – just ahead of teammate Falchero in 17th after a rough weekend for the team to round out the European leg of the season.
GP3 will return to action on the 28-30 September at Sochi Autodrom in Russia, for the penultimate round of the championship, as the season reaches its conclusion in Abu Dhabi in November.