Chipping Norton racing driver Sean Walkinshaw posted the second points finish of his maiden season in the European Formula 3 Open at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 14th July, to climb into ninth position in the Copa Class championship standings.
Beginning the fifth event of the year in fine style with a strong showing in testing at his ‘home’ track, ending two of the sessions with the second fastest time in class, the Team West-Tec driver rounded out the category’s inaugural visit to UK shores with a best result of fifth place during round 10.
While disappointed to qualify with the ninth fastest Copa time for the second race of the weekend, the 19-year-old made a good start to the 15-lap encounter and although boxed out through the first corner, Copse, he swiftly hit back and produced a fantastic first lap to climb through into fifth.
Despite slipping behind Trino Rojas on lap two, Sean stayed with the Venezuelan and hit back on the seventh tour to re-take the position. With consistently good pace, the Oxfordshire racer was able to pull five seconds clear of his challenger during the closing stages to cement his top five Copa placing.
“We definitely made some positive steps again this weekend”, said the Dallara F308 driver, “Race two was good, qualifying was a bit disappointing though as, looking at the data, I should have been four or five tenths quicker than I actually was so that would have put us maybe fourth in the Copa. I just didn’t hook it up unfortunately and get the space I needed.
“Our race pace was really good but it’s very hard to overtake at Silverstone in F3. I had a good start, I was mugged a bit at the first corner but then through Stowe, and up through the complex and at Brooklands, I made quite a few places back. After I got fifth I just tried to be as consistent as I could. I’m relatively happy with the weekend as a whole, we’ve ended it with some points which is good.”
For round nine on Saturday, 13th July, where temperatures exceeded 30 degrees centigrade, Sean steered his Toyota-powered Dallara to sixth on the grid in the Copa Class – just 0.4 seconds outside the top three.
Putting together a good first lap, he moved into fifth position where he remained for the bulk of the race until a small misjudgement on lap 11 enabled Italy’s Tommaso Menchini to slip past. Therefore ending the encounter sixth in the Copa Class, Sean missed out on the points by only 1.5 seconds.
“Qualifying was again a bit disappointing for the first race, we should have been higher up”, said Sean, “I had a good first lap though and it was only the small mistake with a few laps to go which cost me points. It was frustrating to miss out but we’ve been consistent again, we’re regularly in the top five or six in the races now. Hopefully we can keep building that consistency at Spa.”
There is now a lengthy eight week break in the European F3 Open season with rounds 11 and 12 set to take place at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps over the weekend 7th/8th September.
Provisional 2013 European Formula 3 Open ‘Copa Class’ Standings (after Rd10):
9th Sean Walkinshaw, 9pts