Carlin’s Euroformula Open team secured an incredible result this weekend in the penultimate race weekend of the 2019 calendar which saw Honda Junior driver Teppei Natori take a lights to flag victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Natori was followed across the line by three of his fellow Carlin teammates as they locked out the podium, rookie podium and the top four positions. Nicolai Kjaergaard took second place (his second of the weekend) while British racer Billy Monger secured the third step on the podium. Christian Hahn finished the final race of the weekend in fourth position while Ido Cohen, who made his Euroformula Open debut this weekend enjoyed a seventh-place finish in the opening race of the weekend.
The penultimate race weekend of the season was full of drama from the word go. The five-strong Carlin team looked to have pace throughout Thursday however it wasn’t until Friday that their true speed became apparent when both Monger and Kjaergaard topped the two practice sessions on offer ahead of the weekend.
However, Saturday morning’s qualifying became a complete washout and was cancelled due to the dangerous conditions; as a result, article 31.1 was evoked which meant the grid was set by the combined fastest laps from free practice. This meant that Monger took pole position with Kjaergaard lining up alongside him as the lights went out later that day.
Kjaergaard initially took the lead from his Carlin teammate and then looked to pull a gap over Liam Lawson behind. However, in the challenging wet conditions Kjaergaard was unable to keep at the head of the field and ultimately dropped back a position to take second spot on the podium. Hahn took the flag in fourth, Monger fifth, Cohen seventh (on his debut) and Natori ninth.
With a chance to do it all over again the next day, the Carlin team took to the track showing great speed; as the session reached its conclusion Carlin had locked out the top two rows on the grid with Natori on pole, Kjaergaard second, Hahn third and Monger fourth. Rookie Cohen qualified in 13th.
Off the line Natori could do no wrong and stormed off into the distance. Meanwhile, Monger had taken third from his teammate Hahn while Kjaergaard maintained position in second. The top four remained unchanged throughout the rest of the race with Natori taking a brilliant maiden European victory.
Natori said of the race, “I am thrilled to win the race today. Everything went perfectly out there today, and I was able to pull a great gap after a fantastic start and control the lead from there. I’m very pleased with the hard work that everyone has put in this weekend to get such a strong team result.”
Kjaergaard followed him home in second, Monger rounded off the podium in third, Hahn finished fourth and Cohen 13th.