Monza in Italy, one of the greatest race tracks on the globe, will host the penultimate event of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open season next weekend, 5th/6th October, where Sean Walkinshaw is targeting nothing less than a Copa Class podium return.
Despite having never previously visited the high-speed 3.6-mile track, the 19-year-old is confident of continuing his excellent recent form which has delivered ‘Copa’ points finishes in each of the last three race meetings – at Jerez in Spain, Silverstone in the UK and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Since securing his maiden podium finish at Jerez in June, Chipping Norton-based Sean has been a consistent contender for class rostrums and is determined to be battling at the sharp end of the ‘Copa’ once more during rounds 13 and 14 next weekend.
Having achieved the second podium of his debut season in Formula 3 earlier this month at Spa, the Team West-Tec driver went on to experience the true highs and lows of motorsport in one weekend when he was caught-up in a massive multi-car accident on the opening lap of the second race.
Thankfully emerging unscathed from the dramatic incident, in which he was an innocent party, Sean was most frustrated not to have been able to mount a bid for his first podium double of the year and is targeting that season-first for the Monza weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to Monza but, as I haven’t been there before, it’s quite hard to prepare really”, said the Dallara F308 driver, “I’ve been on the sim, watching as much on-board footage as I can and we will have an extra practice session compared to Spa which will be very useful.
“The most important thing is to try and get up to speed as quickly as possible, especially as some of the Italian teams do use Monza as a test track. Realistically, I’m going all out for a minimum of two Copa podiums. Without the spin at Spa [in the first race] I really think we had the pace to be able to challenge for the class win, so hopefully we can keep that momentum going.”
In terms of the Copa Class championship standings, Sean heads into the penultimate two rounds of his rookie season in ninth position, within 15 points of the top six. He is also six points clear of his nearest rival.
Following pre-event testing next Friday, 4th October, qualifying for round 13 will take place at 08.45 (UK time) on Saturday, 5th October, with the race itself beginning at 14.10 (UK time). On Sunday, 6th October, round 14 qualifying is scheduled to start at 08.00 (UK time) with race two getting underway at 12.30 (UK time) – live television coverage of Sunday’s race will be screened on Motors TV.
Provisional 2013 European Formula 3 Open ‘Copa Class’ Standings (after Rd12):
9th Sean Walkinshaw, 15pts