Brands Hatch, 12th August - Young Indonesian Sean Gelael bounced back from a difficult start to his weekend to take two top-six positions in the latest round of the British Formula 3 International Series at Brands Hatch.

Just 16 years old, Gelael raced his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes strongly on the challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit – his very first experience of the track.

It was a tough beginning for Sean, who raced on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy circuit in May but now was tasting the ultra-fast, narrow and bumpy corners of the GP track for the first time.

He had a crash in free practice on Friday, but recovered to be eighth fastest in the qualifying session on Saturday morning.

“I managed to get the gap closer to the guys in front, and now I was able to get into a rhythm because really this was my first proper session on the circuit,” said Gelael. “Even after my crash on Friday, with my car repaired, there were too many other incidents and that did not help me with my lack of experience. OK, that was not my fault but it makes things tough.”

A strong start to race one put Sean into sixth position, but he crashed at the notorious Sheene Curve on lap three while fending off Nissan protégé JannMardenborough.

“I had a good start and I was running well,” he said. “I saw Nicholas Latifi in front of me and I was pushing to pressure him.

“Because of all the delays in testing I had not much track time, and the data from qualifying showed I could use the kerb more at Sheene Curve. I tried that but I used too much, and the car flew across the track and hit the tyre wall. There was not too much damage, but it was enough for me not to be able to continue.”

That meant that Gelael would have to start the second race from the back of the grid, but he put on an exceptional performance. He soon got into the top 10, and then completed his comeback by passing Double R team-mate Tatiana Calderon into Paddock Hill Bend on the 13th lap of 23, giving him sixth place in the final results.

“I finally finished without any problems!” said Sean. “In this race it was good to get more track time, and by the end of the race my speed was much better.

“Paddock Bend is the only place to attack at this circuit and I stuck the car in there inside Tatiana. After that my pace compared to the drivers in front was really close, so much better than before.”

Gelael then picked his way through a second-lap accident in the third and final race and had a very consistent run to another sixth position, which ensures he is in fifth place in the championship standings.

“Because of my lack of track time at Brands, at the start I was struggling to push as much as the others,” said Sean. “But as the race settled down my pace was pretty good, and I am really pleased to come back so strongly after a difficult start to the weekend.”

After two consecutive events in British F3, it is now back to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship for Sean next weekend at the German Grand Prix circuit of the Nurburgring. (ms/arl)

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