Carlin’s Devlin Defrancesco has enjoyed a strong race to the podium today in the opening race of the weekend at Silverstone as the Euroformula Open Championship kick-started after a long summer break.
Starting on the second row of the grid in fourth, Defrancesco launched incredibly well and piled the pressure on Alex Karkosik ahead to take the flag in an impressive second position. Team mate Ameya Vaidyanathan was also on the pace and gained strong positions to finish in fourth while Guilherme Samaia was extremely unlucky to be tapped from behind, while running in 11th, which sent him spinning and tumbling down the order before recovering to finish 14th.
Following a chilly qualifying session this morning, Defrancesco lined up in fourth, Vaidyanathan in seventh and Samaia 13th in his first ever Euroformula Open qualifying session. Off the line, Defrancesco held his nerve well with a fantastic launch to immediately claim third as his own. Vaidyanathan had also made great progress running in fifth overall after the first lap while Samaia had gained a position in 12th.
Over the next few laps the battles for positions began in earnest with Defrancesco all over the back of Karkosik while Vaidyanthan was running right up behind Ben Hingeley. Defrancesco was the first to make a successful attempt and had soon stolen position from Karkosik ahead following a great move around the British circuit. Defrancesco was then able to pull a nice gap and give himself some air as he looked to close the gap to Harrison Scott having been held up in the opening laps.
Also on the hunt, Vaidyanathan continued in his efforts to overtake Hingeley ahead – coming close lap after lap, Vaidyanathan managed to make the move stick and was soon up the road ahead of his rival. However it was opposite fortunes for Samaia in his debut race – despite looking strong for a great finish, the Brazilian was tapped from behind by Christian Hahn which sent the pair in to a spin. Incredibly, Samaia was able to recover to continue with the race but this incident had put him on the back foot and unnecessarily down the order; eventually crossing the line in 14th.
For Defrancesco the final laps of the race were a calm affair as the Canadian racer remained on the pace with no one to trouble him claiming second as his own and coming back after the summer break with a bang. Carlin team mate Vaidyanathan was also looking strong and finished in a great fourth position – claiming strong championship points in the process.
Defrancesco said of the race, “I had a great start to my race which put us in a good position to get the podium. I knew that Harrison [Scott] was going to be quick on the straights but my aim was to stay with him as much as possible in the opening laps. We made a few changes to the car for the race and it felt good which meant that I was able to put the pressure on Karkosik ahead and force him in to a mistake. I think second was probably the maximum that we were able to manage today but we certainly announced our presence for the second half of the year. I want to say a big thanks to the team – it was great out there today.”
Action on track at Silverstone resumes tomorrow morning at 9.00, local time, with the second qualifying session which will be followed by the final race of the weekend at 12.15.