Jagonya Ayam with Carlin have once again continued their strong run in the points with both Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael finishing the first race of the 2014 Grand Prix de Pau weekend in top ten positions. Team mate Tom Blomqvist fought well to gain positions following his engine penalty, which was carried over from Hockenheim, to come home in 11th. The strong result, including Gelael’s first points finish in the FIA Formula Three European Championship, sees the drivers continue to take points as the season progresses.
After qualifying yesterday Gelael had set his sights on a points paying finish from the off – with even more reason to do so after he lost out on such a position in Hockenheim due to contact. Gelael had put himself in a good place to do so and lined up 11th on the grid. Giovinazzi was just in front of the young Indonesian in 10th while Blomqvist was to start from 16th on the grid following his engine penalty which followed him from Hockenheim. Despite being out of position Blomqvist made sure to get a lightening start as the race started and was soon running in 11th position over all.
The start of the race was disrupted early on following a heavy off into the barriers for Alexander Toril and Mitch Gilbert on lap one. This incident brought the safety car out on track for a few laps while the damaged cars were quickly removed by the experienced Pau marshals.
Upon the restart the positions stayed exactly as they were with Giovinazzi in seventh, Gelael in ninth and Blomqvist in 11th. Over the next few laps the action on track was relatively subdued with little change up and down the field however Giovinazzi pulled a slight gap to Jones behind in the sister Carlin car and Gelael came under a little bit of pressure from Spike Goddard.
Gelael was unlucky to lose the position to Goddard just before a second safety car was released on track to deal with the stricken car of Michele Beretta. This bunched the field up once again and meant that the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin men had another restart to contend with. Showing their Formula Three experience all three drivers enjoyed another strong restart in their Volkswagen powered Dallara cars with Giovinazzi holding seventh, Gelael tenth and Blomqvist 11th.
Over the final few laps the positions remained the same again and Giovinazzi coming home with more solid points for seventh. He said of his race, ‘We started in tenth and finished in seventh which in itself for a street circuit, where it is hard to overtake, is very good. Obviously I want to be up higher however it’s always nice to come away from races with points and build from there over the course of a weekend.’
Meanwhile Gelael who has been enjoying the challenges of Pau raced well to clinch his first point in the FIA Formula Three European Championship. Taking tenth the Indonesian driver said, ‘I was really happy with the start and was running in ninth, I had Ed Jones ahead so I stayed with him. I’m obviously gutted to have lost the position to Spike [Goddard] near the end but that’s racing. I’m pleased to have got my first points finish in the championship though.’
Blomqvist made the most of his race to come home in 11th. His grid penalties are now complete and he looks ahead to qualifying this afternoon with no punishments coming his way for tomorrow’s racing action. Blomqvist added. ‘I had a good first lap and made up five positions which I think was probably all I could do here; it’s tricky to overtake and you can’t get too close. I’m looking forward to qualifying and it’s going to be great knowing that we head into it this afternoon with no penalties hanging over us – so where we qualify will be our starting position.’
Qualifying for races two and the Grand Prix de Pau gets underway at 15.40 local time this afternoon.’