Tveter Posts Two Top-Five Finishes In GP3 at Austria’s Red Bull Ring
SPIELBERG, Styria, Austria, July 9 — In only his second GP3 series event ever, American Ryan Tveter recorded a fifth- and a fourth-place finish Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in an international field of future F1 hopefuls at the Red Bull Ring. The GP3 doubleheader supported Sunday’s Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix.
Both races demanded the utmost concentration and control as the 23-year-old driver from Oyster Bay, N.Y. was forced to fight off constant challenges from the extremely competitive field.
He started fourth in Sunday’s 18-lap race around the 4.326-kilometer (2.688-mile), eight-turn road course. He advanced to third almost immediately when the driver who started second, Alessio Lorandi, dropped to seventh place.
The current point leader, Nirei Fukuzumi, moved into fourth place at that point and began a race-long attack on Tveter. Lap after lap Tveter held the second-year GP3 driver at bay. Tveter set his fastest lap of the race on lap eight with a 1:21.724, but his laps were very consistent despite the constant pressure in the non-stop contest.
At the very end Fukuzumi snuck by him on lap 17 to steal the final podium position. Tveter was still able to secure his second top-five finish of the weekend when he took the checkered in fourth place, 0.8 of a second ahead of the driver who finished fifth.
Tveter started seventh in Saturday’s 24-lap race after qualifying with a time of 1:19.425. He got sixth right away before a full-course yellow waved due to contact between Steijn Schothorst and Leonardo Pulcini. The race resumed quickly, and Tveter nailed down fifth on lap three when both he and Fukuzumi passed Giuliano Alesi.
Alesi hounded Tveter the rest of the way, but Tveter was up to each challenge.
Dorian Boccolacci passed Alesi for sixth working lap 22. He got by Tveter briefly too, but Tveter got him right back within the same lap. Boccolacci ran off course on the last lap to give sixth back to Alesi. Tveter went on to post his first top-five finish in only his third GP3 race and scored 10 points to boot. He was 0.704 ahead of Alesi at the line. He ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 11 with a time of 1:22.388.
Tveter's Dallara is fielded by Trident Motorsport, which is based in Milano, Italy. His #11 carries the colors of Jagonya Ayam!/KFC Indonesia and Pertamina. Tveter also uses his racing program to support several not-for-profit groups: Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive, and the Lessons for Life Foundation.
Tveter leaves Austria tied for tenth place with Pulcini in the driver point standings with 18 points. There are four races complete and a dozen remaining.
The next GP3 event is another doubleheader this coming weekend, July 14-16, at Silverstone in Great Britain. The circuit then appears at the Hungaroring in Hungary July 28-30.
“Overall it was a fantastic weekend,” Tveter said Sunday night. “Two top-five finishes in my second GP3 weekend move things in the right direction. It's an incredibly competitive championship with great talent throughout the field.
“I was happy with my lap in qualifying and that was definitely the first key to the weekend; it was extremely tight.
“The first race was probably the most difficult race of my life so far. I was nursing a flat spot that I picked up after a huge lock-up into Turn 4 when there was oil on the track on lap five. I was really happy to bring it home in fifth after being under massive pressure with seriously crazy vibration coming from the right-front tire.
“Despite holding third for the majority of today's race, we didn't give anything away. I wanted the podium as much for my team as myself but at least Fukuzumi, the championship leader, had to work for it. His last DRS [an adjustable rear wing] gave him the edge on the penultimate lap. I did my best to defend but ultimately he squeezed by.
“The car’s balance was solid, but we struggled a bit on the high-speed corners compared to the ART cars. Still, the car performed well, was there for me, and I was able to bring it home in fourth. Thanks to the guys at Trident for their exceptional work and a special thanks to KFC and Pertamina for their support. I can't wait to get back out at Silverstone on Thursday!”
"We're very happy to see Ryan deliver on his potential so early in the championship, especially as a rookie,” said Giacomo Ricci, team manager and team principal for Trident Motorsport. “He drove two fantastic races. He can feel very pleased about his performance for himself and the team this weekend."