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DATE News (chronologically)
08/27/11
gp3
James Calado takes maiden GP3 pole
James Calado took his first GP3 pole position for Lotus ART after an epic battle for pole position at Spa-Francorchamps today. The British driver finished just 0.088 seconds ahead of his teammate and Series leader Valtteri Bottas proving that the reigning champions are still the team to beat this season.

Heavy rain overnight meant the drivers faced difficult conditions for this morning’s qualifying. The weather is notoriously changeable at the Belgium track, and in the end it came down to which team had the best tire strategy. The track was damp but drying when the lights turned green, and the field headed out on track on wet weather tires. 

As the drivers got to grips with the notoriously tricky track the first half of the session was a battle between Series front-runners Alexander Sims, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Bottas with the three drivers swapping quickest lap times as the track dried and times started to tumble.

With ten minutes left the session came alive. Lotus ART was the first team to take a weather gamble and switch their drivers to slick tires. As the lead of the timesheet continued to change Bottas was nine seconds off the pace on slicks, and it started to look like the team had been too eager to switch tires. With the checkered flag in sight it was impossible to tell which tire choice would pay off, but with three minutes to go Calado grabbed the top spot on slicks by 1.447 seconds. As the rest of the field crossed the line they were unable to match the Brits rapid time. Bottas settled for second ahead of Melker who briefly held the top spot, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Quaife-Hobbs.

Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims was a casualty of the conditions and will start from seventeenth after just missing out on a flying lap on his new slick tires. 

GP3 Series will be back on track this afternoon for Race 1 of the weekend at 17:20 local time.

Qualifying times:

POS NO DRIVER TEAM TIME LAPS GAP
1 3 J. CALADO Lotus ART 2:20.146 12 0.000
2 2 V. BOTTAS Lotus ART 2:20.234 13 0.088
3 31 N. MELKER RSC Mucke Motorsport 2:21.315 12 1.169
4 5 A. FELIX DA COSTA Status Grand Prix 2:22.359 13 2.213
5 10 A. QUAIFE-HOBBS Marussia Manor Racing 2:22.689 12 2.543
6 21 N. YELLOLY Atech CRS GP 2:22.818 12 2.672
7 14 C. DALY Carlin 2:22.988 12 2.842
8 23 T. DILLMANN Addax Team 2:23.088 12 2.942
9 7 N. MULLER Jenzer Motorsport 2:23.256 12 3.110
10 28 L. WILLIAMSON MW Arden 2:23.272 13 3.126
11 26 M. EVANS MW Arden 2:23.439 13 3.293
12 30 M. CHRISTENSEN RSC Mucke Motorsport 2:23.693 12 3.547
13 6 I. LUKASHEVICH Status Grand Prix 2:23.772 13 3.626
14 17 A. VAINIO Tech 1 Racing 2:24.106 12 3.960
15 9 A. FONTANA Jenzer Motorsport 2:24.300 13 4.154
16 20 M. STOCKINGER Atech CRS GP 2:24.651 12 4.505
17 4 A. SIMS Status Grand Prix 2:24.774 12 4.628
18 1 R. STANAWAY Lotus ART 2:24.911 12 4.765
19 16 L. CORDEIRO Carlin 2:25.172 12 5.026
20 11 R. HARYANTO Marussia Manor Racing 2:25.496 12 5.350
21 8 M. ZIMIN Jenzer Motorsport 2:25.560 13 5.414
22 29 D. MANCINELLI RSC Mucke Motorsport 2:25.857 12 5.711
23 27 S. TRUMMER MW Arden 2:26.284 13 6.138
24 22 Z. AMBERG Atech CRS GP 2:26.917 12 6.771
25 25 D. SMITH Addax Team 2:26.952 12 6.850
26 12 M. LAINE Marussia Manor Racing 2:27.996 12 7.850
27 18 T. HYLKEMA Tech 1 Racing 2:28.115 13 7.969
28 19 T. PAL KISS Tech 1 Racing 2:28.738 12 8.592
29 24 G. CHAVES Addax Team 2:29.743 9 9.597
30 15 C. MACLEOD Carlin 2:29.751 11 9.605
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