CHAVES CLOSES GAP TO ROOKIE LEADER AT MUGELLO American teenager showcases speed and skill in Italian F3 Championship as development continues with Mygale chassis MUGELLO, ITALY (July 27, 2010) - Rising junior formula car star...
CHAVES CLOSES GAP TO ROOKIE LEADER AT MUGELLO
American teenager showcases speed and skill in Italian F3 Championship as development continues with Mygale chassis
MUGELLO, ITALY (July 27, 2010) - Rising junior formula car star Gabby Chaves continued his quest for top rookie honors in the highly competitive Italian Formula 3 Championship this past weekend (July 24-25), adding two more top-10s to his inaugural European racing resume at the Mugello International Circuit. The Eurointernational race pilot was the top Mygale driver in Round Seven with a strong seventh place finish, and was part of the fight for the Round Eight win, before an oil leak relegated the American to eighth place at the checkered flag.
Chaves entered the Mugello doubleheader with two goals on his mind^abe the top rookie and be the top Mygale driver. Right from the get go, it appeared the reigning Formula BMW Americas champion had the pace to accomplish both these goals, fighting for positions among the top-10 in the opening two practice runs.
That trend continued when qualifying got underway one day later on the Italian road course. Despite not having the outright pace of the leading Dallara chassis drivers, continued hard work by the French manufacturer and Eurointernational squad to develop the Mygale chassis, meant Chaves was able to close the gap on the timing monitors. The American as a result ended qualifying an impressive seventh on the timecharts, quickest among both the rookie and Mygale contingents.
Returning to the cockpit of his No. 17 entry a short time later, the opening race proved to be an uneventful affair for the highly-rated teenager. While able to easily hold off any challenges from behind, Chaves did not have the car to advance up the scoring table. The teenager therefore received the checkered flag right where he had started, in seventh place as the leading rookie and Mygale pilot.
When the field line-up for Round Eight on Sunday morning, Chaves found himself on the front-row for a second time in 2010, thanks to the top-eight from race one being inverted. Chaves promptly made the most of the opportunity when the action got underway, battling for the race lead as the top-three pulled away from the rest of the field. Luck however was not on his side, as midway through lap two his engine began leaking oil, coating his left rear tire. The sudden lack of grip resulted in Chaves losing upwards of four seconds a lap on the lead pack. Never one to give up without a fight, the American teenager battled for positions all the way to the checkered flag, eventually taking home a hard earned eighth place as the leading rookie racer and second among the Mygale drivers - only behind the more experienced Christopher Zanella.
"As expected it was a hard weekend behind the wheel," stated Chaves. "While we've definitely gotten quicker, we still have a ways to go to match the speed of the Dallaras. That being said, overall it was good weekend with two rookie wins, helping me close the gap in the Rookie of the Year title chase."
Chaves and the Eurointernational squad now have a month-long break, before returning to action on August 28-29, with Rounds Nine and Ten at the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti in Varano, Italy. The American standout enters the Italian Formula 3 Championship doubleheader second in the rookie standings, a mere eight points behind the leader.