GIANMARCO RAIMONDO: F3 ITALIA YEAR END REPORT
Canadian open wheel racer completes a successful rookie season of international open wheel competition
St. Catharines, Ontario - Gianmarco Raimondo, Canadian formula car racer, completed the 2010 season that saw many highs and lows as the young racer took on a full time effort of motor racing in Europe. Living in Italy for the past ten months has put Raimondo right in the heart of the European motor racing community, immersing him in the culture and history of the sport in which he looks to excel. After several tests at the beginning of the season, the 19-year-old driver settled on Team Lucidi Motorsports to campaign the hotly contest F3 Italia series. One the best-attended series in Europe, with one of the richest prize packages, Raimondo would compete against many of the best F3 drivers in world.
"Moving to Italy with little to no language skills, no friends, and having to perform on top of that was incredibly difficult," comments Raimondo from his home in St. Catharines, ON. "However, it forced me to learn and to grow as a person as well as a driver."
The year began at the track of Misano where Raimondo would go 17th in the first qualifying session of his rookie campaign. Gmo followed up that effort with a solid 16th and 12th place finishes to round out a nice opening weekend. The series then moved outside of Italy to run at the famed Hockenheim track in Germany where Raimondo ran a very disappointing 26th in qualifying due to a spin in the wet forcing him to retire, then having to deal with everyone else improving their time in the dry later on in the session. With qualifying behind him, Gmo ran extremely well and scored a 12th place and a 11th place to complete a great recovery. The next stop for the 30-car field was the Circuit at Imola for rounds five and six of the 16 round series. A solid 16th in qualifying was followed by 14th in race one. In race two, the young Canadian had a great race score his first top ten to take eighth at the line.
"My best race has to be either Imola race two or Monza race one. Imola because I went from 16th to sixth in two laps and kept the same pace as the leaders with minimal mistakes finishing in eighth," comments Raimondo from his home in Canada as he enjoys the winter break. "Then Monza because I moved my way up to fifth from tenth and came out on top in the most insane battles with very experienced drivers."
The series would head to Mugello, the host for round six and seven where Gianmarco qualified in 15th and then went 15th and 17th in the two races. Varano was the next stop for the F3 Italia series. Gmo would struggle for pace taking 19th in timed qualifying and running 20th and 18th in the final race order. Next stop for the F3 Italia program was Vellelunga, were Raimondo would look to make a mid season charge for the Rookie Championship title. An excellent qualifying session had Raimondo miss tenth by 0.01 seconds. In race one a battle for position saw cars go three wide with Gmo in the middle. The result was his second DNF of the season. In Sunday race two the third year formula car ran a fantastic race to take 11th at the stripe.
Next up was a return to Mugello where Gmo upped his game from the first visit. The talented teen went 12th in qualifying then had his first DNF in race one. That disappointing results was followed by his second top ten of the year, taking tenth on day two. The season closed out rounds 15 and 16 at the famed Monza Circuit. Gmo went tenth quickest in qualifying, his best qualifying result of the year. Raimondo backed that effort up with sixth on Saturday his best finish of the year and then went eighth on Sunday for a second straight top ten finish and fourth on the season.
"The last two races of the weekend were very productive finishing in the top 10 consistently. I really began to finally figure out the tire at as the year went on. You basically had drive the car in a constant slide," continued Raimondo. "It was a different style of driving, but it taught me how to drive and control the car on the limit. Now when I do go to a better responding tire, I will be very competitive in result."
In the final tally Gmo would go third in the Rookie title and 16th overall with four Championship scoring races. With only two DNF's in 16 rounds Raimondo showed great patience and fantastic race craft.
"2010 was a very good learning year for me and has prepared me to be competitive for the next series' to come. I would like to thank Lucidi Motors for all of their help and for all of what they taught me over the season."
Plans for the 2011 season are currently underway as Raimondo looks to use this recent momentum to build his program for next season.
-source: gianmarco raimondo