Home Formula 3Euroformula Half of Euroformula’s six-car field get wins in Algarve season opener

Half of Euroformula’s six-car field get wins in Algarve season opener

by Ida Wood

Photo: Fotospeedy

Euroformula had just just six cars for round one at Algarve, with Brad Benavides departing as points leader.

Motopark’s Cenyu Han and NV Racing’s Paolo Brajnik were no-shows, meaning BVM Racing’s Francesco Simonazzi was the only non-Motopark driver present.

Benavides led pre-event testing, Lorenzo Fluxa pipped Simonazzi by 0.03 seconds in wet free practice, then a drying track for qualifying on Saturday morning meant it was all about who set a lap last and Simonazzi took pole by 0.472s over the debuting Fernando Barrichello. Revesz was 0.937s behind, with Bergmeister, Benavides and Fluxa in fourth, fifth and sixth. Bergmeister changed chassis before qualifying.

Barrichello stalled at the start of race one, and Simonazzi led despite getting wheelspin. Revesz got up to second, and held the position despite a turn three lock-up. Benavides rose to third ahead of Bergmeister and Fluxa, with Barrichello ending lap one five seconds behind.

Fluxa passed Bergmeister into the turn five hairpin on lap two, and Simonazzi was a second clear by lap four as Benavides tried attacking Revesz.

The gap grew to 3.051s, with Benavides finishing second. He had been pressured by Fluxa on lap nine and 10, but then started pressuring Revesz again on lap 11 of 18 and they went three-wide down to turn one a lap later.

Benavides got ahead on the outside line, and Revesz lost out twice in the middle as he bounced over the kerbs exiting the corner and was passed by Fluxa. There was 0.068s between second and third at the finish, as Fluxa set the fastest lap while hounding Benavides.

Bergmeister was gapped significantly in fifth, and Barrichello had a wheel-locking off on lap five that lost him further ground. He finished 24.979s behind.

Barrichello had reversed-grid pole for race two and started slowly again, falling behind Bergmeister and Revesz and then being passed by Benavides at turn one. Pushing off Fluxa prevented another position being lost.

Revesz and Benavides passed Bergmeister on lap four, while Fluxa overtook Barrichello off-track on lap five then cleared Bergmeister on lap seven. Simonazzi demoted Bermeister to fifth a lap later.

Benavides and Fluxa moved ahead of Revesz in the race’s second half, and while both had three-second penalties for off-track overtakes it had no impact and they finished one-two. After several laps of rigorous battling, Simonazzi took third from Revesz in a photo finish despite going off-track. Revesz then got a two-second penalty for track limits abuse.

Fluxa took a lights-to-flag win in the reversed-grid race three. He had a lap one lock-up, but was not challenged up front until Revesz came to a stop with a smoking car on lap 10 and the safety car bunched the field up for a restart four laps later.

Benavides tried a turn one overtake on Fluxa once, but a costly lock-up then led to Simonazzi diving past him at turn 11. Although he got back ahead down the pit straight, in the remaining two laps Benavides could not threaten Fluxa.

Before stopping, Revesz had passed Simonazzi at turn 10 on lap six, but fell behind him and Barrichello in the laps after.

Results round-up
Race 1 (18 laps)
1 Francesco Simonazzi BVM Racing 29m27.392s
2 Brad Benavides Motopark +3.051s
3 Lorenzo Fluxa Motopark +3.119s
4 Levente Revesz Motopark +7.322s
5 Jakob Bergmeister Motopark +15.201s
6 Fernando Barrichello Motopark +24.979s
Pole: Simonazzi, 1m46.833s
Fastest lap: Fluxa, 1m37.730s

Race 2 (18 laps)
1 Benavides 29m29.353s
2 Fluxa +2.660s
3 Simonazzi +7.888s
4 Revesz +9.890s
5 Bergmeister +10.906s
6 Barrichello +11.768s
FL: Revesz, 1m37.410s

Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Fluxa 31m17.612s
2 Benavides +0.323s
3 Simonazzi +0.799s
4 Barrichello +2.052s
5 Bergmeister +2.791s
Ret Revesz
FL: Benavides, 1m37.617s

Championship standings
1 Benavides 66   2 Fluxa 59   3 Simonazzi 58   4 Bergmeister 30   5 Barrichello 28   6 Revesz 25