Sean Walkinshaw concluded his first season in the headline class of the EuroFormula Open ninth in the driver standings at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona over the weekend, 1st/2nd November, after hopes of a top eight finish were dashed during the final round due to an enforced retirement.
Chalking-up his 11th points scoring result of the campaign during round 15 on Saturday, with a strong drive to ninth place, the Chipping Norton racer was frustratingly forced out of the last encounter of 2014 on Sunday morning following two separate incidents not of his making.
As well as ending the championship inside the coveted top 10, in the accompanying Spanish F3 Championship battle the Campos Racing driver was 10th in the points standings after a competitive year at the wheel of his Dallara F312.
“Barcelona wasn’t the end to the season we wanted, but it’s still been a strong year and we made some good progress”, said Sean, “Qualifying this weekend didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, after that it was always going to be an uphill battle as it’s a tough circuit to overtake on. Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the season and the Campos guys have been fantastic to work with.”
Beginning Saturday’s encounter from 15th on the starting grid, Sean got away cleanly from the line and after a neat and tidy run through the first few corners he threaded his way into the top 12 midway through the opening lap.
Right behind Tanart Sathienthirakul into lap two, Sean also had to soak up pressure from Andres Saravia with the midfield very tightly bunched early on. Remaining in 12th place until the end of lap seven, the Briton then gained a position at the expense of Konstantin Tereschenko who had to serve a drive-through penalty.
Shortly after, Sean was able to break into the top 10 after two rivals ahead made contact and thereafter he stayed in ninth position to the chequered flag on lap 17. Close behind Sathienthirakul during the final third of the contest, the Campos driver pushed hard and piled on the pressure and at the line just 0.8 seconds separated the pair. The result moved Sean up into ninth in the standings.
Qualifying 12th fastest for Sunday’s finale, little more than 0.3 seconds shy of the top eight, the Oxfordshire racer again made a good start but on the run to the first corner his front-right wheel was tagged as a rival moved across, pitching the nose of Sean’s F312 into the air before a heavy landing.
Fortunately, he was able to continue without too much drama, albeit down in 17th position, but was then nudged back to 18th place before the end of the first tour. Compounding a luckless final race for the Briton, on lap five Sean was hit again and although able to get back to the pits, retirement swiftly and unsurprisingly followed.
Final 2014 EuroFormula Open Standings:
9th Sean Walkinshaw, 53pts
Final 2014 Spanish F3 Championship Standings:
10th Sean Walkinshaw, 19pts