ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (Nov. 26, 2018) — The determination that Ryan Tveter has shown throughout the 2018 GP3 Series was never more evident than on Sunday afternoon at the Yas Marina Circuit, when the young American battled from 11th on the starting grid to fifth at the checkered, setting the fastest lap of the race to boot.
The race will go down in history as not only the series’ season finale but also its last race ever, as the GP3 series will merge with the Formula 3 series under the latter name in 2019.
Tveter avoided an accident at the start of Sunday’s 14-lap race on the 5.554-kilometer, 21-turn road course to rise to eighth by the end of the first lap. He passed Tatiana Calderon for seventh on the restart on lap four and then set the fastest lap of the race of all the competitors on lap five with a time of 1:59.936. He duplicated the times of the leader and driver in second place in the first sector, but was even faster than them in other places around the very challenging course.
He was also the fastest of anyone else on the track on lap nine while still seventh, but that lap was a tad slower than his flyer on lap five. Richard Verschoor hounded him in the late stages of the race, but lap after lap Tveter held him off.
There were plenty of fireworks on the last lap. There was a last-lap pass for the lead and two 5-second penalties were bestowed for speeding under the caution flag after the first-lap accident, and Tveter rose to fifth on the scoreboard for the dramatic conclusion.
Tveter qualified eighth for Saturday’s 18-lap race with a time of 1:55.511, which was just 0.626 off the pole. Unfortunately his Trident No. 7, which carries the colors of The Disruptive, Stilo, and his charity partners — Right To Play, MTV Staying Alive and the Lessons for Life Foundation — had a tire with a slow puncture from the beginning of the race. Despite that problem Tveter remained in eighth place for the first six laps, and rose to seventh on lap seven when the Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based driver passed Juan-Manuel Correa. The latter got him back on the following lap. Since the top eight finishers on Saturday are inverted for the start of Sunday’s race Tveter could smell a pole position, but unfortunately he couldn’t continue the battle due to the tire. Instead that race became one of survival, and he nursed his car home for an 11th-place finish.
“I’m thrilled to close out the final GP3 race ever with a fifth-place finish from 11th on the grid,” Tveter said after Sunday’s race. “After strong pace from the start of the weekend and a good qualifying, we had an issue with a slow puncture on the right-front tire from the start of Race 1. The problem with the valve made it almost impossible to keep the pace in any left-hand corners, unfortunately of which there are 10. Honestly I was happy to keep control of the car and finish the race, but frustrated especially to be outside of the top eight.
“The fastest lap in today’s race validates the pace I’ve had all year and I’m very satisfied to close a challenging season with a strong result. I never give up and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
Tveter ended the season in ninth place in the championship and helped his team finish second in the team standings.
For more information see RyanTveter.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The series’ Web site, which hosts a live timing and scoring feed, is at gp3series.com. Trident’s Web site is at tridentmotorsport.com