Daly shines in the wet at Silverstone

American MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly, second-generation formula car racer, completed what can only be described as an epic run, overcoming a challenging start to the weekend to secure his place at the front of the GP3 Series field. As can always be expected, the English countryside just north of London delivered unsettled weather and changing conditions. During the second lap of qualifying Daly hit a curb resulting in a damaged floor, which seriously compromised the down force levels of his car. Making matters worse, the track was drying so each lap got faster. With the field knocking off time, Daly would have to start last on Saturday for Race One.

Providing an additional challenge, it rained on the warm up lap for Race One and after gambling that the race would be dry, along with half the field, Daly decided to make a pit stop for wet tires without taking his grid position, as did ten other drivers. Unfortunately his teammate decided the same thing and Daly had to wait until the team changed his tires first before getting him under way. Daly therefore started from the pit lane in last place minus the 10 seconds it took to change his tires. He then proved to be the fastest car on the track as he caught and began to slice his way through the field. His fastest laps caught the eye of the British commentator, Ian Titchmarsh and he became the story of the race again as he was in Valencia. In the wrap up of the race on TV, commentator Titchmarsh said, "Daly was a bit of a star" as he drove through the field to finish 15th setting seven fastest race laps along the way."

After two penalties awarded to other drivers from Race One, Daly started the Sunday morning Race Two in P13. A great opening lap had him in 10th at the end of the first lap. With an aggressive front aerodynamic setting the car was loose immediately and he had to conserve rapidly degrading rear tires. On lap two Daly passed for ninth place before making the pass of the race around the outside of Swiss driver Simon Trummer, at the 135 MPH Stowe Corner, at the end of the longest straight. He then set his sights on Saturday’s race winner, Swiss driver Nico Muller who Daly passed two laps later. With his rear tires beginning to overheat, Daly had to back off to stabilize air pressure allowing Turkish race winner, Dutch driver Nigel Melker to close. After one conservative lap Daly pushed again and caught fifth and sixth place drivers on the last lap but ran out of time having to be satisfied with his second seventh place of the season.

“In the wet on Saturday the car was really good and I could set fastest lap times almost every lap. On Sunday I spent a large amount of my efforts managing the rear tire wear and I think I did a pretty good job," said Daly following the race. “Now that we are consistently running with the front of the pack, I will work to get qualifying sorted out. It was a really good weekend for the Carlin Team and I can’t wait for Germany."

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