ABAY SHOWS PACE AT ROCKINGHAM Oxia Carlin rookie, Sam Abay started the two British Formula 3 races at Rockingham from opposite ends of the grid. The youngster secured another impressive second row starting position for race 1, replicating ...
ABAY SHOWS PACE AT ROCKINGHAM
Oxia Carlin rookie, Sam Abay started the two British Formula 3 races at Rockingham from opposite ends of the grid. The youngster secured another impressive second row starting position for race 1, replicating his efforts from Monza the previous week, but then speared off the circuit at the start of Sunday's afternoon qualifying session to determine the grid for Monday's second race from which he would start 23rd.
The rain that was experienced the previous day in qualifying gave way to dry conditions on Monday morning, for the start of the first race. A slow getaway from 4th on the grid saw Abay drop to 5th as the field raced off the line. It wasn't long before the Australian tagged onto the back of Walter Grubmuller and, by lap 2, Abay had regained 4th place. In doing so he had been joined in the battle by Swede, Marcus Ericsson. The Fortec driver found a way past the Australian youngster on lap 4, as the race settled into a holding pattern at the front. Unchallenged, Abay appeared to have a comfortable 5th place under control, but by lap 17 the long expected rain started to fall and drivers struggled for grip on slick tyres. The deteriorating conditions caught Abay out and a mistake on the penultimate lap allowed Oliver Turvey, championship leader Sergio Perez and Sebastian Hohenthal past, dropping the Australian to 8th place.
"It's good to have scored more points, but I'm obviously disappointed to have ended the race with a mistake, as we comfortably had a hold on 5th. But we're here to gain experience and little mistakes like that are all part of the learning game."
A wet race 2 presented a very different challenge, with Abay having to start towards the rear of the field in 23rd position. An aggressive opening lap by the Australian saw him pass an incredible 8 cars, moving from 23rd to 15th by the end of lap 1. A caution period to retrieve the stranded car of Henry Arundel further aided Abay's cause as the field closed up behind the safety car. As racing resumed, Abay picked up where he'd left off, passing Ricardo Teixeira on lap 4, Alistair Jackson on lap 6 and Sergio Perez on lap 7, establishing himself in 10th position before continuing his charge towards Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley ahead. By lap 14, the flying youngster had caught Ericsson and Hartley. One lap later he'd forced his way past Ericsson and had his sights firmly set on the 8th place, held by his Carlin team mate. An error on the final lap whilst looking for a way past the New Zealander, allowed both Ericsson and Turvey past, leaving Abay to greet the chequered flag in 11th position.
"I don't like having to start any race at the back of the grid, but without a doubt that was probably as much fun as I've had in a racing car. The first half of the race was just fantastic, we were passing people left and right, it was just like being back in my living room on the Playstation!"
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, "Sam had an unlucky weekend, but came back with a great drive through the field in race two."