Tveter Charges from 17th to Fifth
In GP3 Action at Monza Sunday
MONZA, Italy, Sept. 3 — America’s Ryan Tveter tied for the unofficial “Hard Charger” distinction in Sunday’s GP3 Series race at Monza when he started 17th and finished fifth in the Trident No. 11 sponsored by Jagonya Ayam!/KFC Indonesia and Pertamina.
The rookie from Oyster Bay, N.Y. also vaulted from ninth to seventh in the driver point standings, just one point out of sixth place. It was his fifth top-five finish so far this year.
Rain played havoc with the schedule at Monza. Race 1, which was supposed to be held on Saturday afternoon, was postponed until Sunday morning. Race 2 was canceled entirely, leaving just four races remaining this season in two doubleheaders.
Qualifications were canceled due to rain too, so the starting grid for Sunday’s 21-lap race was established by the times set in Friday’s practice session. That put Tveter 17th in the 20-car field for the start.
He made the best of it, rising from 17th to 12th before the first full-course caution waved before one lap was in the books. He got three positions due to attrition and two by passing Bruno Baptista and Arjun Maini. He had the best time in the first segment of that lap than anyone else.
The two-car crash that caused the yellow also damaged a tire barrier around the 3.6-mile, 11-turn road course, and the green didn’t wave again until lap 8. That restart didn’t go well for Tveter, who lost almost all the ground he’d made earlier when he dropped to 15th.
Juan-Manuel Correa ran into the back of Maini’s car working lap 13 to bring out the second yellow and give Tveter two more spots.
He got two more positions on the restart on lap 14 when Raoul Hyman dropped from fifth to 14th and Tveter passed Baptista for the second time.
Tveter cracked the top 10 on lap 15 by posting the fastest time in Sector 1 of anyone, which allowed him to pass Tatiana Calderon and Kevin Jorg. He moved into ninth on the following lap by passing Julien Falchero.
He got eighth on lap 17 by passing Giuliano Alesi, and seventh on lap 18 when Maini pitted. Tveter also set his fastest lap of the race on that lap with a 1:40.923, which was the sixth-fastest lap run.
At that point the race was deemed a timed event in its final minutes, but Tveter was to advance two more spots. He got the first one working lap 20 when the fourth-place driver, Niko Kari, crashed to bring out another yellow. The race ended under that yellow with 21 laps complete, but Tveter got one more position on the last lap when Steijn Schothorst dropped from fifth to 12th.
"What a crazy weekend!" Tveter said. "I’ve never experienced such delays, disappointment, and such a result after all the ups and downs. To come away with P5 from 17th was truly satisfying and a good recovery for us as a team. The biggest 'grazie' to everyone.
"We were expecting rain for qualifying, so instead of focusing on ultimate performance, we changed our practice strategy to gauge tire degradation for the race," he continued. "We weren't counting on the all-day deluge on Saturday, and I was left with a P17 free practice result as my starting position for Race 1.
"Monza is fast and can be incredibly unforgiving, but can also present great opportunities starting from the back, especially in today’s green and partially wet track conditions," he noted. "I had a great start, but at one point slipped to last after the engine went into safety mode from wheelspin on a wet curb.
"From there I just kept my head in it and kept pushing to advance, save DRS, make clean overtakes, and not make any mistakes. The car was superb thanks to Trident; we can be really proud of our result. Grazie a tutti! I can't wait to get back to work for Jerez. It’s the first track where I topped the charts, which was during testing. It’s one of my absolute favorites."
In addition to his primary sponsors, Tveter provides exposure for several not-for-profit groups through his racing program: Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive, and the Lessons for Life Foundation.
The next GP3 event is Oct. 6-8 at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain. The season concludes Nov. 24-26 at Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates.