In Turkey, Pirelli decided to equip both GP2 and GP3 drivers with its medium slicks because of the specific characteristics of the track: a medium-abrasive surface, dramatic gradient changes, two long straights and 14 challenging corners including the multi-apex Turn Eight.
“Because of the circuit’s fast and demanding layout, a tire with extremely versatile features was required” Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola explained. “Our medium slicks were the best option to tackle this track, which is considered a benchmark when it comes to testing both drivers and cars. Adding to the challenge of the track was the weather, with light rain at the start of the weekend. So our P Zero wet tires saw some action too, providing the GP2 and GP3 drivers with excellent grip on a wet and slippery track.”
Saturday’s action took place in the afternoon after the Formula One practice and qualifying sessions, in dry and much warmer conditions with track temperatures ranging from 64 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first GP2 race got underway on a well-rubbered track, with Pirelli’s medium slicks forming the centerpiece of an incredible 32-lap show. From start to finish, the drivers enjoyed a spectacular and closely fought battle for the podium, right up to the final lap. Most of the drivers carried out only one pit stop between lap nine and 16, changing two tires and experiencing appropriate levels of tire wear, as requested by the organizers’ from this year.
“It was a very interesting race,” former Pirelli test driver and Saturday’s race winner Romain Grosjean (DAMS) exclaimed. “I think nobody knew what to expect from the tire degradation and there were many different strategies, which proved interesting for the show. As we decided to change only the rear tires, I had to push hard to stay on top of the car and manage my rubber up to the end, keeping tire wear under control.”
GP3 race one got underway with Frenchman Tom Dillmann (Carlin) on pole thanks to a lap time of 1m45.541s in the morning qualifying sessions. Pirelli medium tires were a highlight of the afternoon’s race with Nigel Melker (RSC Mucke Motorsport) making his move to take the lead straight away, sealing his first GP3 Series victory.
On Sunday morning the GP2 sprint race and GP3 race two were the prologue to the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix.
GP3 driver Alexander Sims (Status Grand Prix) took the win, dominating an action-packed 15 lap race, with his pursuers carrying on a fierce fight right behind him.
Shortly afterwards, the GP2 drivers hit the track for an exciting 23-lap sprint race, using a fresh set of Pirelli P Zero medium tires. Stefano Coletti (Trident Racing) dominated the action thanks to a fantastic race, only interrupted by the safety car in the final laps.
“We are very satisfied with the performance of our GP2 and GP3 tires during this first round of the season,” Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola added. “Throughout the weekend we had to face extremely variable track and weather conditions. We received very positive feedback from the teams and drivers about both our wets and medium slicks, which enjoyed a warm welcome at the Istanbul track.”
Pirelli’s P Zero tires now head to Barcelona (Spain) for the second round of the GP2 and GP3 season, running from 20-22 May, ready to repeat its spectacular Istanbul performance.
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