The sixth round of the Euroformula Open Championship got underway at Monza this weekend with Carlin’s Cameron Das rounding off the weekend with a podium position in the final race. Two frustrating qualifying sessions around the so-called ‘Temple of Speed’ provided tactics galore as the field tried to take advantage of the slip-streaming effect which in turn meant getting a representative lap time on the board was next to impossible. As a result, the Carlin trio of Das, Matheus Iorio and Dev Gore were somewhat down the order for the races leaving them with work on their hands. However the trio fought hard to come away with points and a podium for Das in the final race on Sunday afternoon.
Prior to the weekend, the drivers had two solid days of testing to get under their belt as they got up to speed at the Italian track. A total of five hours on Thursday followed by two useful sessions on Friday yielded good data for the trio as they headed in to qualifying on Saturday morning.
However, the qualifying session was riddled with frustrations as every single driver looked to achieve the ‘all-important’ tow around the 3.6mile track. With all cars running nose to tail getting a lap on the board which wasn’t ruined by a driver slowing down ahead, or multiple traffic jams up the road, was next to impossible. As a result, Iorio, Das and Gore started the opening race in seventh, tenth and 11th respectively.
Despite a good start to the race for all three drivers, Das found himself squeezed on lap two between two cars which broke his suspension and left him out of the race. Iorio did however manage to make strong progress throughout to take fifth as the flag fell while Gore picked up his first top ten position as he clinched ninth place.
Sunday morning’s qualifying was a similar affair to that of 24 hours prior, however the Carlin drivers did manage to secure some traffic free laps to set stronger grid positions; Iorio lined up on the second row of the grid in fourth, Das directly behind in sixth and Gore in 12th.
The final race of the weekend was a far more interesting prospect with Das and Iorio working well together to carve their way through the field; picking drivers off as they hunted down the podium positions. Battling wheel to wheel between themselves throughout the race Das eventually took the flag in third to secure another great podium as Iorio closely followed him home in fourth. Gore meanwhile enjoyed a dramatic race of his own but remained in control to take the final points paying position in tenth.
Das said of his podium position, “On Sunday morning, we got unlucky with track position during the last two minutes of qualifying, but despite not having any sort of a tow we were sixth fastest. For the race, I was in a bit of survival mode for the first two or three laps, but I knew my strong pace would allow me to proceed ahead if I was patient. After working with Matheus [Iorio], we picked off cars in between us and I eventually overtook Matheus and defended the podium position from him for the last two laps.
“I’m actually really happy with how we recovered as a team. I think we will be a force to be reckoned with in Jerez in a few weeks’ time.”