4th September, 2016, Monza: Arjun Maini rounded off a challenging weekend with a brilliant 6th place finish in Race 2 at the GP3 weekend in Monza after starting 14th on the grid due to problems in both qualifying and Race 1. The JK Tyre supported driver gained one position and currently stands in 11th position in the Driver’s Championship with 36 points.
The young Indian finished in 16th place with a best time of 1:39.974 during the sole free practice session but the problems started plaguing him from the qualifying session onwards. Arjun was set to secure a top 10 qualifying position when Trident’s Artur Janosz was guilty of not checking his mirrors carefully while warming his tyres. This caused Arjun who was trying to overtake him to crash into the rear which derailed the latter’s session. There was one final lap that Arjun could manage and a time of 1:39.535 saw him qualify in 19th place for Race 1.
Race 1 started on a bad note for him as he suffered a front left tyre issue on the first lap and had to pit for a tyre change. On coming out from the pits, he was 6 seconds behind the last man racing but made impressive strides through the grid to finish 14thin the race with a best time of 1:41.069, the same position from where he would start in Race 2. His Pace during Race 1 was very impressive but he had to come from a long way behind.
It was Race 2 where he truly shone and turned the heads of many in the crowded F1 paddock. Starting 14th, it took the young Indian, supported by TVS Motors, a few laps to get to 7th place when the safety car was deployed for another crash. Upon the restart, his race was derailed through a crash not caused by him. Trident’s Sandy Stuvik knocked him from the back, pushing Arjun down to 10th position and nearly undoing all the hard work of overtaking through the field. Stuvik was handed over a time Penalty of 5 seconds for causing a collision. Arjun persevered and made one move at a time to get to 7th place again and was involved in the battle for P6. He settled the matter when he overtook Palau coming into Parabolica and slotted into 6th place for a well-deserved points finish.
Arjun was happy about the result despite a difficult weekend at the ‘Temple of Speed’, “My overtaking skills came to great use in both races. It was a brilliant experience racing at Monza and the track is a wonderful learning ground for drivers. I’ve got a 4 week break now before Malaysia to rewind and build on my points finishes. We touched a top speed of 299 Kms per hour which was an absolutely amazing feeling. “
The GP3 season will now move to Malaysia on the weekend of 30th September – 2nd October, 2016.