12 May Positive points in Pau
The Fortec Motorsports team of John Bryant-Meisner and Mitchell Gilbert took home further points towards their FIA Formula Three European Championship campaign this weekend in Pau. Despite crashing out of race one, Australian Gilbert finished sixth and fifth in the last two races to score more points than he managed during the whole of last season. Teammate Bryant-Meisner was also in good form with a 12th, 11th and eighth place finish across the three races.
The first race at Pau saw drama right from lights out and was over almost as soon as it started for Gilbert, who starts in 18th place. Alex Toril (Threebond with T-Sport) broke late going into the first corner (Pont Oscar), going into the back of the Australian and flying over the top of him into the wall. The incident resulted in a safety car and Gilbert out of the race with damage to his car, including a broken rear wing.
For Bryant-Meisner, who started in 13th, it was a slow race where overtaking was all but impossible. However, the 19-year-old had moved up a place by the end to finish 12th.
Due to the weather conditions and a wet track, the second race of the weekend got underway behind the safety car. Bryant-Meisner started from ninth on the grid and was up to eighth early on, although found he was struggling for speed.
For Gilbert, starting in eighth, the safety car period saw the drivers behind bunch up. After five laps the green flags were out and the race restarted. Sitting in seventh, Gilbert was then one of a number of cars involved in a large crash on Turn 4 and, despite being forced to continue the race without a front wing, came out of the crash having gained a place to finish brilliantly in sixth.
“It Was a very long two laps with no front wing and a train of about 20 cars behind me!” Commented Gilbert. “To finish sixth was really positive.”
For Bryant-Meisner, he was on the charge and catching the field ahead when the crash in front stopped him in his tracks. He was forced to reverse to get round the incident and crossed the line in 11th.
The third and final race of the weekend saw both Fortec drivers put all their learning from the previous races into practice, with both improving and finishing within the points.
Gilbert, starting from sixth, had a great start. The young racer managed to slip past someone early on and held fifth for the remainder of the race. Starting in ninth, John was soon up to eighth and stayed there up until the chequered flag.
Bryant-Meisner commented: “The last race was the best of the weekend, I had really good speed and chased the guys in front. It’s positive we are coming away with more points.
Gilbert commented: “The last race was very straight forward. We started p6 and after a good start, finished a solid fifth place. The pace was very good particularly from the middle to the end of the race.
We’ve made a lot of progress on the car and understanding what we need to do with the driving. I think this is only the start of what’s about to come.”
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the championship take place at the Hungaroring 30th May – 1st June.