24 Mar Rain causes chaos in Monza!
Sunday 22nd March, Monza – Rain caused chaos in race 2 of the FIA F3 European Championship, with wet conditions throughout. Thirty cars started the race but multiple incidents saw twenty-four finish, with Fortec’s Felix Serralles and Josh Hill both finishing in the top 10 and scoring points towards the championship. Team-mate Dmitry Suranovic also had a strong race, finishing 22nd in his first time in the wet at Monza. For Pipo Derani his ninth place finish was marred after a 10-second time penalty for ignoring a warning flag.
The second race of the FIA European F3 saw rain fall on the circuit from start to finish, with the safety car out for four laps whilst drivers got themselves accustomed to the conditions. With twenty-two minutes left on the clock the green flag was flown, and as the safety car came in all four Fortec drivers got off to a clean start despite the poor visibility conditions.
By lap 6 Serralles, Hill and Derani had caught each other and sat in P11, 12 and 13 respectively. Suranovic took advantage of some race incidents at the restart and drove though into P25. The team continued to maintain their positions, despite the extreme conditions until, with just five minutes left on the clock, Van Amersfoot Racing’s Mans Grenhagen collided with Jordan King (Carlin) and Will Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport), sending all three off track and providing an opportunity for Serralles, Derani and Hill to drive though and move up the field.
With the spray continuing to impede visibility the Fortec drivers kept their distance from each other, ensuring any risk of an incident was minimal. As the chequered flag was flown they all crossed the line relatively un-scathed, with Serralles in seventh, Hill eighth and Derani ninth. Suranovic also kept his cool and out of trouble to take the chequered flag in 22nd.
On the ninth lap of the race marshals believed Derani’s rear light not to be working and after the race handed the Brazilian a 10-second time penalty for ignoring the warning flag. This resulted in Derani finishing outside of the point scores.
Commenting on the harsh conditions Hill said: “This was my first time in an F3 car in the wet and around Monza in the rain. I had to drive by sight reading, I wasn’t quite sure where to go or what to expect from the car – I had to draw on my experience from driving other cars in the wet and luckily the F3 car isn’t too different. The team has helped me a lot to understand how to drive these cars in the wet, so that gave me the knowledge to work on. I trusted my engineer to put the right set up on the car and he did. The name of the game was to stay out of trouble and keep on track. Once the spray comes up from the car in front you can’t see a thing and you can’t attack on the breaks as you cant see where the guy in front is breaking or where you’re breaking.”
The third and final race of the weekend will take place this afternoon at 16.05 (local time), watch it live on Motors TV or via live streaming on the FIA F3 website.