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Tambay holds off Rossi at Spa
Adrian Tambay, son of former F1 driver Patrick Tambay
Adrian Tambay has put in one of the drives of the season to take victory in Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps.

On a tricky track with most parts wet and few dry, the Manor Racing driver on slick held off a charging Alexander Rossi on wet tires to take his maiden win in the Series. The American’s second place finish helped seal the Teams’ title for ART Grand Prix with one round remaining. 

Overnight penalties meant Jenzer Motorsport’s Simon Trummer started on reverse pole. The Swiss driver made a good start when the lights turned green, but before the end of the first lap the #24 car was shown a black and orange flag for a mechanical problem and had to return to the pits. Meanwhile Carlin’s Dean Smith slotted into second ahead of a slow starting Pedro Nunes for ART who then clashed with Status GP’s Robert Wickens putting the title contender down into twenty-fourth position and way out of the points. By lap 2 Series leader Esteban Gutierrez had already made his way up into ninth spot after starting sixteenth. 

Alexander Rossi is proving Americans can hold their own against the Europeans and may be the next American to make it to F1.  He will need at least one year in GP2 first.
After torrential downpours in yesterday’s Race 1 the field were hopeful of a dry race, but by lap 4 the rain began to fall. Wickens was first in the pits to change to wet tires, and was quickly followed by the remainder of the field – it was only Tambay who stayed out on track on slick tires. Gutierrez lost time in the pits having to cue for tires behind teammate Rossi.

The promised rain was still only light and Tambay being the only who did not pit for new rubber first enjoyed a comfortable gap that however shrunk quickly with Miki Monras and Rossi gunning for the Frenchman. As the race entered the final minutes Rossi had passed Monras and put immense pressure on the Virgin racer. Tambay kept his cool and held off the American until the finish line to take a maiden GP3 win.

Monras took the final podium spot for MW Arden making up for the team’s disappointment yesterday. Smith eventually finished fourth ahead of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. Nico Muller took the final point of the race. Series leader Esteban Gutierrez finished in seventh just missing out on a point ahead of RSC Mucke’s Tobias Hegewald, Addax Team’s Felipe Guimares and Tech CRS GP’s Oliver Oakes. Despite finishing twelfth, Wickens’ championship hopes are still well and truly alive and the fight will go down to the wire in Monza. Gutiérrez remains 18 points ahead of Wickens with 20 points still up for grabs.

The final race of the season is in two weeks at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 10th – 12th.

1 7 A. TAMBAY Manor Racing 12 30:11.408 0.000
2 1 A. ROSSI ART Grand Prix 12 30:11.853 0.445
3 21 M. MONRAS MW Arden 12 30:12.611 1.203
4 15 D. SMITH Carlin 12 30:14.196 2.788
5 9 A. QUAIFE-HOBBS Manor Racing 12 30:14.515 3.107
6 25 N. MULLER Jenzer Motorsport 12 30:17.539 6.131
7 2 E. GUTIERREZ ART Grand Prix 12 30:23.568 12.160
8 12 T. HEGEWALD RSC Muecke Motorsport 12 30:25.245 13.837
9 17 F. GUIMARAES Addax Team 12 30:29.605 18.197
10 30 O. OAKES Atech CRS GP 12 30:31.202 19.794
11 4 R. WICKENS Status Grand Prix 12 30:36.907 25.499
12 16 A. FELIX DA COSTA Carlin 12 30:40.852 29.444
13 5 I. LUKASHEVICH Status Grand Prix 12 30:46.085 34.677
14 19 M. BORTOLOTTI Addax Team 12 30:50.763 39.355
15 10 N. MELKER RSC Muecke Motorsport 12 31:01.851 50.443
16 6 D. MORAD Status Grand Prix 12 31:08.852 57.444
17 23 P. VARHAUG Jenzer Motorsport 12 31. 19.698 68.290
18 8 R. HARYANTO Manor Racing 12 31:30.636 79.228
19 3 P. NUNES ART Grand Prix 12 31:39.597 88.189
20 26 D. SECHELARIU Tech 1 Racing 12 31:52.308 100.900
21 14 J. NEWGARDEN Carlin 12 32:07.626 116.22
22 29 R. MERHI Atech CRS GP 11 27:47.689 DNF
23 20 M. CHRISTENSEN MW Arden 11 28:13.540 DNF
DQ 28 D. JUNCADELLA Tech 1 Racing 11 28:25.053 DNF
24 27 S. COLETTI Tech 1 Racing 11 30:29.861 1 LAP
25 18 P. SANCHEZ LOPEZ Addax Team 11 30:40.036 1 LAP

Fastest Lap N. MULLER Jenzer Motorsport 2:13.050 Lap 3

Post-Race Quotes

GP3 Series: Adrien what an amazing race. You started 27th on the grid.

Adrien Tambay: Yes, actually 27 is a good number, it’s my lucky number. The start was great and I made a few positions, and then the pace in the dry was good, but I got hit by Daniel Morad and I thought my race was over and the car wouldn’t be in one piece but it was fine. Then the rain came – I was still overtaking people in the dry and moving up the classification – then after that it was about staying on track and pushing and pushing to make up time.

GP3 Series: So whose decision was it to stay out on slick?

Adrien Tambay: It was mine. Actually it was our decision. My engineer said it’s fine to stay out because we had nothing to lose as I’d already missed the first opportunity to pit. So then after it didn’t make sense to pit because I would have missed so many places so I stayed and tried hard to stay on track which was really hard. After I was watching a bit on the screens to see where the other drivers were because it was very wet in the middle sector and the last sector but in the first sector I was fast because it was still dry.

GP3 Series: And you held on despite some unbelievable pressure from Rossi.

Adrien Tambay: Yes, I stayed calm and I know Alexander very well and we have raced together before I know he is a fair driver so there was no problem. He is looking after his championship and knew I had nothing to lose as well so it ended in a good way.

GP3 Series: Alexander, great race today. Tell us about your start.

Alexander Rossi: The start was very good and I made up a lot of positions. At the end of the first lap we were looking at being in the points which was the goal to try and minimize what Nico had score on us. In the dry we were ok but Merhi was miles ahead of everybody and I couldn’t keep him behind, but then when the rain came I was frustrated because I thought it was yesterday all over. We came in to change to rain tires and the in-lap was very challenging. The team is very impressive in pitstops so we gain a lot of positions but it took  for the tires to start working and Miki passed me again but once we were in a rhythm we were quick.

I closed up to Adrien but he did a good job and was able to keep the car on track. I thought for sure we would make a mistake but he didn’t. I had one chance to overtake but I didn’t just for one point. I was happy to be in front of Nico. 

GP3 Series: And of course your finished today has helped the team win the championship!

Alexander Rossi: Yes, it’s fantastic. In the first year of the Series everyone assumed they would be the favorite given past results, but to actually clinch the title is fantastic and Esteban should definitely win in Monza. That would be the best thing for the team, to have two championships in the first year.

GP3 Series: You started from ninth. Talk us through your race.

Miki Monras: I knew I could get good points in the race today, and I knew the first thing was to get a good start which I did and ended up fifth in the first lap but I think Merhi and Rossi had lower wing so they could  overtake me really easily on the straight. But I still knew I had a good rhythm and was following them well. When it started raining it was a difficult decision whether or not to pit because it had only started at the end of the lap. But I saw the guys in front were pitting so we decided to stop. Obviously were not used to pit stops so it was a bit messy in the pitlane. I got passed by a few drivers in the pits, but when I was on the track I was really fast so I overtook them.

I caught Rossi and over took him back but then he overtook he again! I knew I was faster than the guys in front, but I decided not to fight too much with Rossi and just kept up with him instead. By the end we were really really close. In the last corner I was on the limit and tried to get in the corner first.

GP3 Series: Do think if you had found a way past you had the car to win the race?

Miki Monras: Yes, I think if the race had one or two more laps for sure we could have gone for the win. We had a really good car in the wet and I confident and Adrien was struggling. Only one more la and it would have been a different race.

GP3 Series: But good points for the team nonetheless.

Miki Monras: Yes, after qualifying which was bad and then a penalty, plus finishing P9 in the race I’m happy.  Obviously I would have preferred to finish P8 and started the race on pole. Its good for the team to get confidence for the last race.

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