The whole Arden International team endured a tough opening weekend of the 2014 GP3 Series with Patric Niederhauser scoring the teams’ only points of the weekend with a tenth place finish in race one and the fastest lap in race two. Robert Visoiu took 13th and 11th place finishes, while Jann Mardenborough took two 14th place finishes.
Niederhauser managed to take a point for tenth in race one, then took the two points on offer for setting the fastest lap in race two but could only finish ninth. He felt that he under-performed and believer better results could and should have been possible. He had managed to qualify 0.6 seconds behind the pole time set by Alex Lynn, but this left the Swiss driver down in twelfth place on the grid.
“I expected a bit more from the whole weekend,” admitted Niederhauser. “We were not fast enough straight from free practice onwards. I’ve put a good lap together in qualifying but we still struggled with the balance a bit and as times were so close together it was only good enough for P12. After that I hoped to drive up to P8 in the first race to secure the pole for race 2.
“I made a mistake at the start, where I immediately lost a couple of places but after that I won a couple of places back in the first lap with some decent overtaking. The second race was pretty tough when we started on slicks on a very damp track. We ended the weekend positively with doing the fastest lap of race 2.”
Romanian Visoiu could only qualify 15th on the grid, but despite making up a couple of positions at the start, could not climb past 13th where he finished. He made it up to 11th in race two, but left the Spanish circuit pointless.
“Qualifying was very difficult, which made it hard to have a good position in Race one,” said Visoiu. “Race one wasn’t the most exciting, it was hard to overtake, the track conditions were not so good, so I couldn’t make much progress from fifteenth and this really set the mark for Race two also. It was an unfortunate start to the season but I look forward to the next race already.”
Mardenborough’s first weekend in GP3 was full of promise that ultimately went to waste. The Briton qualified down in 18th place for Saturdays first race, and climbed to 14th in the race. In the damp wet two, he was climbing through the field, and was running eighth (and into the points) when he spun on lap five, which resulted in him finishing again down in 14th.
“We showed good pace in both races, this was great,” said Mardenborough. “However, it is clear where we need to improve – Qualifying. There is a long break now to figure out getting the best from the car for Red Bull Ring. I wanted to fight for the points in Race two and I think we were able to do that so that’s a positive to take from it.
“For my first weekend in GP3 the atmosphere felt great here in Barcelona, good to see so many people out here and seeing the F1 cars is really inspirational. We need to work hard now towards Austria.”