November 29, 2016

Double podium in spectacular end to GP3 season

Arden finish 2nd in the Teams Championship

The stage was set for an incredible season finale of the GP3 Series in the beautiful Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Following on from the high of Sepang, the team arrived in Abu Dhabi with high spirit.

Friday’s free practice saw Calderon set the pace in the early stages, but not for long before Dennis topped the timing sheet. Dennis continued with his strong pace, beating his personal best and was the first into the 1m59’s. Further into the session, Aitken found some extra pace, and overall the team felt strong going into qualifying later that afternoon.

Later that afternoon, qualifying was under some cloudy conditions with the wind picking up. Dennis was the first to show strong pace in the early stages of the session. All drivers returned to the pit lane for some adjustments mid-session, and switched to a new set of tyres.
As they went out for the second part of qualifying, Dennis topped the sheets by almost half a second. As the chequered flag dropped, Dennis grabbed his third front row start, with Aitken behind in third. Calderon took the flag in 18th.

In Race 1, Dennis got off to a poor start, losing several positions from the start, this allowed Aitken to move up to the front of the pack. Aitken posted the fastest lap until the safety car was deployed to recover Calderon after a spin at turn 1.

After restart, Aitken was ready to attack - battled wheel to wheel with Albon for a number of corners, before Aitken came out on top. He held half a second advantage over Albon, but during lap 11 Albon made contact with Aitken after running over a kerb. Luckily Aitken got away with no major damage, and carved his way up into 3rd. As the Chequered flag fell, Dennis came across the line in 2nd, with Aitken in 3rd position.

Race 2, the final race of the season, emotions ran high as the cars lined up on the grid. Aitken started in 6th, Dennis in 7th and Calderon in 20th. Aitken got off to a brilliant start, jumping into 2nd. An early safety car was deployed after contact between Calderon and Albon, unfortunately forcing Calderon to retire. 

As the safety car came in at the end of lap 3, Aitken began putting the pressure onto Hughes. On the final lap, Dennis closed the gap to third, putting the pressure on but narrowly missed out on the final podium position as he crossed the line in 4th.
Aitken took his second podium of the weekend in 2nd. Arden took 2nd overall in the Teams Championship, whilst in the Drivers standings – Dennis finished in 4th and Aitken in 5th overall.

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