Double R Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi secured his third points finish of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season at the Nurburgring in Germany today, Sunday, 18th August, with a tremendous drive into the top 10 from 18th on the grid.
The third race of the weekend, round 21, was also a successful one for team-mate Sean Gelael, the youngest competitor in the championship, who took the best finish of his maiden season in the blue riband F3 category with 13th position – having started 23rd on the grid.
Unsurprisingly, the Safety Car was deployed but racing resumed quickly in time for the start of lap three. While Giovinazzi and Gelael held 10th and 11th, Calderón unfortunately slipped to 19th place on lap four before losing another spot on the sixth tour.
The Colombian hit back on lap 11 by grabbing 19th once again but Calderón slipped a place on lap 20 when passed by the recovering Daniil Kvyat. Four laps from the end, though, she was able to reclaim 19th position.
As Giovinazzi ploughed on in the top 10 en-route to a deserved points finish – also posting the fifth fastest lap of the race in the process – Indonesian youngster Gelael was elbowed back to 12th on lap 13 before a challenge from Felix Serralles four laps later dropped the Double R Dallara-Mercedes to 13th position, where it remained to the chequered flag.
“It’s fantastic to be back in the points in the European Championship”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “After qualifying it looked a very tall order but Antonio did a great job, as have Sean and Tatiana in the races this weekend. We’re delighted Sean managed to take a season’s best too, it was a nice way to round-off quite a tough weekend.”
Round 19 on Saturday, 17th August, was a frustrating race for all three Double R drivers with overtaking opportunities at a minimum. Qualifying a lower than anticipated 20th on the grid, Giovinazzi managed to make a good start and moved into the battle for 18th place through Turn One.
Making the position his own, the Italian then spent the remainder of the 25-lap encounter bottled up behind Roy Nissany. Although quicker, Giovinazzi wasn’t able to carve open a clear-cut chance to try and pass and so remained in 18th place to the finish.
Gelael, who started in 22nd position, gained a spot on the opening lap and although slipping behind Spike Goddard on the second tour he quickly hit back, regaining 21st place on lap five. Two laps later, Dennis van de Laar served a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits and so Gelael profited to move into the top 20 where he remained for the duration.
Calderón, starting in 23rd place, held station over the first six laps before moving into 22nd position following van de Laar’s penalty. After fending off Lucas Wolf, who subsequently retired, Calderón held 22nd spot to the chequered flag.
For round 20 on Saturday afternoon, Giovinazzi lined-up on the 10th row once again but produced a great first lap to slice his way through into 16th position. Challenging for 15th into the chicane at the end of the second tour, the Double R driver was forced to straight-line the corner and, in doing so, was edged back to 17th place.
On lap nine, though, Giovinazzi managed to retake 16th and following a brief Safety Car period, between laps 15 and 17, the first year F3 racer tried everything possible to find a way past Eddie Cheever. With overtaking again at a premium, he finished in 16th just 0.5 seconds shy of his rival.
Gelael moved up from 21st place into 19th position on the first lap and remained there until lap five when he was nudged back a spot. Losing another place just before mid-distance, the 16-year-old then displayed lightning reactions on lap 14 when having to avoid the stricken cars of Nissany and Wolf at the exit of Turn One. As a result of the two retirements, Gelael moved into 18th position.
For Calderón, race two delivered a top 20 finish after a competitive run. Gaining two places on lap one, to move into 21st place, the Colombian climbed into 20th on lap two but the hard work was undone when edged back to 22nd again on the fourth tour. Following the Nissany/Wolf incident, Calderón held 20th place where she stayed to the finish on lap 25.
Zandvoort in The Netherlands will host rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship over the weekend 28th/29th September. One week prior, 21st/22nd September, Double R Racing will be back in action at the Nurburgring for the final three rounds of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series.
Double R Racing