Home Featured Meguetounif: Staying “focused on myself” paid off for Imola F3 win

Meguetounif: Staying “focused on myself” paid off for Imola F3 win

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Sami Meguetounif delivered a smooth drive to achieve his maiden Formula 3 win on his Trident team’s home ground in the Imola feature race.

The Frenchman lined up third on the grid and was fourth on lap three of 22 after victory rival Campos Racing’s Oliver Goethe drove past him at the Tamburello chicane. However, that slow start to the race was part of the strategy, with his race engineer reminding him to “drive smooth” on the radio, and it eventually paid off.

“I still don’t realise [it],” Meguetounif told Formula Scout in the paddock after the race. “I’m on a cloud. After yesterday’s DNF, I gave everything and finally I take what we deserve. So it’s amazing.

“The first half of the race, even when Ollie passed me, I really focused on myself and my car, looking after my tyres,” he explained. “Didn’t try to go crazy and really stayed calm as my engineer helped me a lot to stay in that state of mind. I managed.

“I was just a bit scared of being attacked by the Prema. [Arvid] Lindblad, I think was behind me. I was managing the gap with him at the same time I was managing the tyres and then from mid-race I felt better than the guys in front, and I just decided to increase a bit the amount of pushing.”

He benefited from a technical issue in the car of his team-mate Leonardo Fornaroli to move up to third on lap six. Then he overtook his other team-mate Santiago Ramos on lap 12 and went on to close a gap of over two seconds to Goethe, passing him on lap 18 to win the race.

“The tyres felt great at the end because I pushed less at the beginning. The strategy was optimal,” he said.

The victory came off the back of a thorough learning process in the first two rounds of the championship at Bahrain and Melbourne, for a driver who didn’t reach the top step over two seasons in the Formula Regional European Championship.

“I learned a lot and arriving in Imola, even if the track is difficult, we were focused and I was focused on putting finally together all the job. And I think I made it quite well. Yesterday, I’ve been a bit unlucky and maybe taking a bit too much risk. So that’s why I had the contact with Dino [Beganovic]. But still, winning the feature race is something amazing.

“When you’re a rookie, especially when you came back after some difficult season in the previous year, [winning] makes you realise that in a good car with the good people around you, you can do it.

“Of course it’s a big boost of confidence and from now I will only look [for] this.”

Meguetounif is now sixth in the drivers’ standings with 38 points to his name, which is 14 behind the leader Fornaroli.