03 Jun Red Bull Ring sees mixed results
1st-2nd June – At the 4.326km long Red Bull Ring in Austria, the FIA European F3 Championship held their fifth round. For the Fortec team of Pipo Derani, Felix Serralles, Josh Hill and new to the squad, William Buller, the weekend bought mixed results.
Race one unfortunately saw Serralles and Hill both retire, whilst Buller and Derani finished fourteenth and eighteenth respectively. Puerto-Rican Serralles had a strong start but a collision with Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) saw him spin out of the race. For Hill suspension failure put the British racer out of contention.
The second race of the day saw Hill have a stunning drive, powering through the field to cross the line in fifth. Buller also had a strong race and after showing increased pace took the chequered flag in fourteenth, whilst team-mate Serralles bought his car home in twenty-first. For Derani luck was to not go the Brazilians way, when on lap twenty he started battling it out with Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam) for eleventh place. Lynn’s car hit the tyre stacks and stopped out on track. The safety car was then called out and the race stopped early. As, according to the regulations, the classification was made up one lap prior to the stopping of the race, Derani was classified eleventh.
Race three was marred by a variety of incidents. A big collision on the second lap, involving six cars, called for the safety car to be deployed as debris was cleared off track. As the safety car bunched the field up Derani sat in ninth with Buller in fourteenth, Serralles sixteenth and Hill seventeenth. After the restart, Derani powered though into sixth, whilst Buller, Serralles and Hill all gained a position. As the race continued the Fortec squad continued to fight their way through the field, Derani defended his top ten position to cross the line in ninth, whilst Hill had climbed up the order to finish twelfth. Serralles and Buller finished thirteenth and fourteenth respectively.
Summing up his weekend Hill commented: “The weekend was a mixed bag. Qualifying was the best it’s been so far but there were a few strange situations to work on. We made the best of what we had and to take points in race two is really good. I’m looking forward to the next round now and will be pushing hard.”