In a hard-fought weekend in Italy, Ferdinand Habsburg made his way back to the podium following a red flag and rain-disrupted race late on Sunday evening. The Austrian racer not only qualified well but started brilliantly in torrential rain to blitz his way up to third position making a welcome return to the podium. The five Carlin drivers all had to contend with a brand new track on the 2018 FIA Formula Three European Championship calendar last weekend as they battled hard around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in a skewed weekend schedule – with much of the track action occurring later in the day for Habsburg, Jehan Daruvala, Sacha Fenestraz, Nikita Troitskiy and Ameya Vaidyanathan.
The strongest qualifying result for the team came on Saturday afternoon when Daruvala secured a second-row start however his race was cut short following suspected contact which resulted in a pushrod failure ruling him out of the race. Much of the drama however came on Sunday evening when the final race of the weekend got underway.
Rain during the afternoon had deteriorated to such a degree that the race was started behind the safety car – this was later ‘upgraded’ to a red flag due to the poor conditions which meant the field of 22 cars returned to the pit lane and waited for the restart. 25 minutes later, the weather had somewhat eased giving the opportunity to restart and straight away it was Habsburg who used the conditions to his advantage – quickly battling with Guanyu Zhou for position.
Having made his way up to third place later in the race, Habsburg then started to hunt down Juri Vips ahead as he looked to move up a position on the podium. Despite the terrible visibility and wet conditions, Habsburg was incredibly brave as the pair ran wheel to wheel, swapping positions corner after corner however in the end Vips came out ahead as Habsburg secured a fantastic third place.
Habsburg said of his podium, “Racing in the rain reminds me of racing in karts; it’s mega close and fun! Plus it can all go wrong in a split second so fighting with three top drivers to make it onto the podium made the trip so much fun. Champagne and a dance on a Sunday is just how I like it!”
Meanwhile Daruvala and Fenestraz both took points away from the weekend as Troitskiy and Vaidyanthan both found themselves involved in multiple battles for position through all three races.