FIA GP3 - Daly Star Of The Show In Valencia
Noblesville, June 26, 2011: MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly, second-generation formula car racer, put in the drive of the race to move from his 12th starting position to finish in 7th place at the checkered flag. It was how he got there however, that was impressive. On a circuit where it is notoriously difficult to pass, Daly provided the highlights of the race by relentlessly pursuing the leaders until he began to pick them off.
Having moved from 25th on the grid to finish 12th in race one on Saturday, Daly would start race two from the 12th starting position in round six of the 16 race championship. After a good start he was 10th at the end of the first lap. He moved to 9th on lap five after passing British driver, Nick Yelloly. Two laps later he caught the leading group of eight cars and passed Saturday’s race winner, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in a difficult outside move in the brake zone. Next up was Saturday’s pole sitter and Red Bull development driver, Lewis Williamson. With three laps to go, Daly was able to execute the same perfect outside move in the same brake zone on Williamson. At this stage Daly had become the feature of the race on the European television broadcast, as he was the only driver in the race making real progress through the field.
After British driver, Dean Stoneman was handed a drive through penalty for ignoring waver yellow flags, Daly was now running 6th, the last points paying position. The notoriously difficult to pass Colombian, Gabby Chaves in 5th place was next on his list and Daly caught him starting the final lap. His only chance to pass came at the final corner of the last lap when he made a last gasp effort to pass him only to be forced off the track by Chaves in a desperate move not to be passed. Both drivers missed the apex turn in point and by the time they sorted themselves out, Williamson slipped by to take 6th place (and the final championship point) from Daly by a mere eight hundredths of a second.
“The car was really good the whole race. I had lots of pace and was able to work my way past people one by one. I felt like I made some good moves; I was able to brake really late which helped me. I didn’t realize I was in the points in the final few corners, and I saw a gap for what I thought was sixth and I just went for it. It’s a shame that it didn’t work out but we’ve shown today that we’ve got great pace and I know the points will come,” said Daly.
Racing Director Trevor Carlin added, “Conor did a fantastic job today. It’s a pity that his efforts weren’t rewarded with a point, but he can still be extremely proud of his race. His numerous overtaking moves were perfect and he provided the highlights of the race.”
Daly now moves on to Silverstone, England, July 9th – 10th, for the next races of the championship to be held in support of the British Grand Prix.