Sean Walkinshaw is determined to put right missing out on a maiden ‘Copa Class’ podium during the rain and fog-affected opening event of the European Formula 3 Open season when the series visits Portimao in Portugal next weekend, 11th/12th May, for rounds three and four of the 2013 campaign.
On course for the rostrum during the second of two races at Paul Ricard HTTT in France a few days ago, an unfortunate spin for the Team West-Tec driver on a drying track spoiled his hopes – although Sean was pleased with the big steps made in his wet-weather driving overall.
With a weekend-best qualifying performance of third fastest in class during the round two session, the 19-year-old certainly underlined his consistently improving pace in his first year of F3 racing and is determined to convert that developing speed into podium results in Portugal just over a week from now.
“Paul Ricard was a disappointing start to the season overall, but there were definitely some positives to take away because I made huge strides in the wet in comparison to last year – hopefully we can take those positives forward to Portimao”, said the Chipping Norton racer.
So poor were the weather conditions at Paul Ricard last weekend, the schedule was affected by the hanging fog and persistent rain. Forced to settle for ninth in class in round one qualifying, Sean did make strong progress in the season-opening race – which was started behind the Safety Car – and he managed to climb into fourth in the ‘Copa’ before an unfortunate spin resulted in ninth at the finish.
The round two qualifying session was also wet but the Dallara F308 driver delivered a much stronger performance by lapping third fastest in class. Unfortunately, like round one, a spin while battling hard in the tricky, drying conditions meant he again had to settle for ninth in the Copa battle.
“I made a mistake in the first race when I was trying to re-take fourth in class, it led to me having a spin unfortunately so that was quite disappointing as the race was a big improvement on where we started”, explained Sean.
“Qualifying for the second race was much better and, had it not been for traffic, we should have been on the Copa pole. Again, in the race we had a spin but looking at the performance across the weekend I’m actually quite encouraged and I’m sure we can have a strong weekend in Portimao.”
Competitors from the Euro F3 Open will have the opportunity to take part in three test sessions at the Autódromo do Algarve next Thursday, 9th May, ahead of three further free practice outings on Friday, 10th May.
On Saturday, 11th May, round three qualifying will get underway at 11.10 (local time) with the race itself following at 15.00 (local time). Round four qualifying will take place on Sunday, 12th May, at 09.00 (local time) with the race scheduled to begin at 13.15 (local time). Both Portimao races will be screened live in the UK on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV – check listings for details.