O’Sullivan secures maiden podium at home race

FIA Formula 3
July 3, 2022

Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan enjoyed a fantastic showing at his home event this weekend at Silverstone securing pole position and second place on the podium in the FIA Formula Three Feature Race.  The British racer, supported by the Williams Driver Academy, set the pace around his home circuit on Friday to take pole position before leading the field away on Sunday morning. O’Sullivan would take the flag in second place claiming his first Formula Three podium after a brilliant race to the line. Teammates Enzo Trulli and Brad Benavides both made positions throughout Sunday’s race with some great moves – learning a huge amount in their rookie seasons.


Friday morning offered the 30-car field their first session around a dry and sunny Silverstone circuit. O’Sullivan finished the 45-minute practice session in seventh overall with Trulli and Benavides 27tand 2respectively.


Qualifying later in the afternoon once again proved the pace of the Carlin car as O’Sullivan started to make his move. Continuing to put in purple sector after purple sector the British racer was looking like one to watch. Rookie O’Sullivan kept himself cool behind the wheel and stormed his way to his first pole position in the series – a first for the Carlin team in the process as well. Benavides and Trulli pushed well throughout to take 23rd and 26th.


The reverse grid race on Saturday was a challenging one for the team. Benavides suffered a throttle component issue which forced him to circulate slowly on the two formation laps before he was able to get the component changed in the pit lane and released back on track – albeit a few laps down by this point. A safety car slowed proceedings for a while however the rest of the race continued with little further action for the Carlin drivers. Trulli took the flag 27th while O'Sullivan was 14th having started 12th‍


However, the excitement for the team came bright and early on Sunday morning when the Feature Race took place with Carlin and O’Sullivan on pole position for the very first time. As the lights extinguished, O’Sullivan launched brilliantly from his box and headed in to the first corner as the race leader. Drama would soon unfold as he started to come under pressure from Arthur Leclerc who made a move around the Carlin man at the exact moment a safety car was released on track.


The Prema driver would, rightly, hand the place back moments before the restart allowing O’Sullivan once again to lead the race. When DRS was enabled, Leclerc was able to close the gap and make a move; O’Sullivan kept his elbows out and made the move difficult but ultimately lost out to the more experienced Monegasque racer despite some great driving.

Meanwhile both Trulli and Benavides were enjoying some great battles including an extended one with William Alatalo in which the trio fought for multiple laps. In the end Trulli would take the flag 17th and Benavides 18thaftera solid drive, the latter would unfortunately be handed a post-race penalty fortrack limits violation.


At the front, O’Sullivan had kept Leclerc in his sights but soon had Ollie Bearman right behind him and in a thrilling final battle the pair went wheel to wheel in a drag race to the line. Bearman pushed O’Sullivan out wide but the Carlin driver held strong to clinch second place – the first FIA Formula Three podium for the2021 GB3 Champion.


O’Sullivan said, “It was very close there towards the end! But an awesome result for both me and the team at our home event. The car has been great all weekend; it’s nice to make progress and now our aim is to continue this momentum into the next rounds.


“We had a tricky Sprint Race yesterday, so we made a couple of little adjustments for this one. I’m really happy with that result.”