Young Arjun Maini became the first Indian to take a podium place in the prestigious GP3 series as he finished second, starting from the pole position in race two, here today.
The 19-year-old had secured ninth position with a best lap of 1:33.874 after the session was red flagged when Steijn Schothorst of Campos Racing stopped unexpectedly on Turn 7.
Race 1 began with Arjun quickly moving up to the vital 8th place, granting him reverse pole for Race 2 if he finished in that same position. He met tough competition from behind with Jack Aitken of Arden International constantly putting pressure on him to make a mistake and allow the Brit to pass.
But Arjun managed to stave off the pressure and held on for an impressive 8th place finish with a lap of 1:36.844 to start on reverse pole in Race 2 for the second time in two races in GP3.
Race 2 began with Arjun being overtaken by Alexander Albon of ART Grand Prix in the first corner itself who then began to put some distance between himself and Arjun. But while Arjun continued to regain pole position, it became imperative to hold off other competition that came in the form of Albon’s teammate and Series leader, Charles Leclerc who made his way up the grid to challenge Arjun from 3rd.
“It’s been a great experience with Jenzer. I’ve had quite a tough time the last two seasons and coming here I’ve already learned a lot. I work with really good people. I’ve got to thank my sponsors without whom I wouldn’t be here: JK Tyre, TVS and of course my parents,” Arjun said.
“It’s been a really good experience. I think it’s a fantastic Series for young drivers. You need to be able to adapt quickly here.”