Ben Barnicoat took a brilliant win in Mugello for Carlin’s Euroformula Open team as he enjoyed a stellar debut weekend at the Italian circuit. In challenging damp conditions, Barnicoat held on well with slick tyres throughout a wet spell in the middle of the race, to take victory for the team. Zane Maloney also put in a fantastic drive in the conditions to take fifth place in the second race of the weekend while Cohen continued his solid point scoring ways with two top ten placements.
Taking on the Italian circuit of Mugello for the first time, the weekend was an unknown for many Euroformula Open drivers. However a good amount of testing on Friday allowed the field, and Carlin’s new recruit Barnicoat, to get up to speed nicely.
The trio had an early start on Saturday with the opening qualifying session which saw 25 minutes of fast-paced action around the Italian circuit and left Cohen setting the fifth quickest time, Barnicoat sixth and Maloney eighth. During the race, it was Barnicoat who became a big mover climbing up to third position as the flag fell while Cohen was sixth and Maloney held station in eighth.
Sunday brought the opportunity to do it all again and it was a chance that Barnicoat took with open arms. Brilliantly dealing with the bad conditions, he was able to steal pole position as his own, beating the current championship leader in to second, while Cohen and Maloney nicely rounded out the top ten.
Between the two sessions, the track had dried considerably to the extent that slick tyres were clearly the rubber to be on. Getting a good clean start, Barnicoat was quick to hold on to the race lead despite having Lukas Dunner for close company. Cohen and Maloney each had their own battles to contend with and found themselves dealing with those, coupled with the slippery conditions, well. However a rain shower shook up the order and saw a handful of drivers pit for wet weather tyres, Cohen was one of those however the rain didn’t last as long as expected and ensured he needed pit again for a change back to slicks. Maloney, having remained out on track, took full advantage of the situation and was soon up to sixth.
However, it was Barnicoat who put all his experience to use best as he pulled out nearly five seconds on second placed Dunner. As it was, Barnicoat would require this buffer as the track dried out and Dunner came back in to play. Barnicoat held his nerve to claim victory on his debut Euroformula Open weekend. Maloney crossed the line fifth having had a storming race and Cohen ninth.
Barnicoat said of his victory, “We started the race with a wet set up on the car and the track actually dried up pretty quickly so that was challenging. When it rained halfway through the race, I was able to pull a really good gap out over Dunner which helped us in the end when the track started to dry again. I didn’t really know what to expect at this circuit, but we’ve had a strong car all weekend, especially in qualifying. I’m really pleased to have won during my debut Euroformula Open weekend.”