Strong Zandvoort performance nets Giovinazzi points finish

Sean Gelael and Tatiana Calderón concluded a tough race in 20th and 24th positions respectively.

Italian teenager Antonio Giovinazzi delivered Double R Racing its fourth points scoring result of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season at Zandvoort on Sunday, 29th September, during round 24 of the 30-race campaign.

The first year Dallara-Mercedes pilot, who was crowned Vice-Champion of the British Formula 3 International Series just one week prior, rounded-out a mixed weekend in The Netherlands for the Woking team with an excellent drive through the order into 11th position from 19th on the grid.

Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi

Photo by: XPB Images

Gaining three positions on the opening lap alone, Giovinazzi moved into 15th on the second tour and then climbed into 14th place a couple of laps later. Remaining there until lap 15, the Double R racer gained a further place at the expense of Lucas Wolf and almost immediately moved into the top 12 following a rare excursion for championship leader Raffaele Marciello.

Following several laps behind the Safety Car, in order to enable his compatriot’s car to be removed, there was time for one final racing lap and Giovinazzi capped his great drive by taking 11th spot. With Daniil Kvyat, who finished fourth, ineligible to score though, Giovinazzi took the point for 10th place.

Team-mates Sean Gelael and Tatiana Calderón concluded a tough race in 20th and 24th positions respectively. Indonesia’s Gelael, who started in 24th place, progressed into the top 20 by lap five but was elbowed back to 21st before reclaiming the spot after Marciello’s crash. Calderón had to settle for 24th place, despite having been as high as 22nd during the early going.

“Antonio did a great job in race three, he made up a lot of places – which isn’t easy at a track like Zandvoort – and to be rewarded for his efforts with a championship point was good”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “It’s so competitive in the European series and qualifying is crucial, if you can start in the top 10 it makes all the difference to the entire weekend.”

Qualifying was, indeed, as vital as ever and following the grid-determining session on Friday, 27th September, Giovinazzi ended up 19th on the grid for round 22. Shortly after the start of race one, racing fell under caution when the Safety Car was deployed due to a stranded Dallara on circuit.

At the resumption on lap four, Giovinazzi held 18th place and he climbed into 16th position fairly quickly before the Safety Car reappeared on lap eight. When the action got back underway, the Italian moved into the top 15 and then grabbed 14th place as a result of an excursion for Alexander Sims five laps from the conclusion.

Gelael made impressive progress from 26th position on the grid, gaining five places prior to the first cautionary period and running in 18th place ahead of the second Safety Car. Moving into 17th after the second re-start, Gelael just managed to hold off Spike Goddard at the flag by 0.2 seconds.

Colombian racer Calderón, beginning the encounter in 27th position, had gained a couple of places prior to the second of the re-starts and went on to gradually climb the order before ending the race just outside the top 20.

For round 23 on Saturday afternoon Giovinazzi lined-up in 18th place but his involvement only lasted a few corners when a tangle with Eddie Cheever Jnr ruled both out of the race with damage. After a short Safety Car period racing resumed on lap five with Gelael the lead Double R driver in 21st place, three spots ahead of Calderón.

After yet another cautionary period, which only lasted a lap, Geleal and Calderón ran in 20th and 23rd position respectively but an accident for Felix Serralles on lap 10 elevated the duo. After moving forward another place each, Gelael 19th and Calderón 22nd, the former unfortunately slipped to 20th place on the final tour after being beaten on the drag to the line by Sandro Zeller.

“There are definitely some positives to take away from this weekend, but we’ve still got work to do with qualifying” added Hieatt, “Starting races on the first four or five rows of the grid would make all the difference, hopefully we can deliver a stronger qualifying performance at the next round and see what that does to our fortunes in the races.”

Double R Racing will be back in action a fortnight from now, over the weekend 12th/13th October, at Vallelunga in Italy for the penultimate event of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, rounds 25, 26 and 27. It will be the category’s first ever visit to the Rome track.

Double R Racing

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About this article
Series EUROF3
Article type Race reports
Tags calderon, double r racing, eurof3, gelael, giovinazzi, kvyat, marciello, zandvoort