Gelael Recovers With Good Race Performances At Zandvoort

Zandvoort, 30th September - Indonesia’s Sean Gelael made an impressive and mature recovery from problems in qualifying to have three strong races in the latest round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Zandvoort.

The 16-year-old suffered a suspension rocker failure early in the first qualifying session on the challenging Dutch circuit, and the resulting loss of time on the track relegated him to a best grid position of 24th.

But he drove three very composed races in his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes against his ultra-experienced opposition, the highlight being an excellent rise from 26th on the grid to a finishing position of 17th in the first race. And all this on a circuit where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.

Sean actually spent one lap in 16th place, before he was passed by British racer Jann Mardenborough. Gelael then defended in a valiant fight to hold off Australian Spike Goddard and Brazilian ace Pipo Derani.

“It was a strong first race,” he said. “I mad up places at the start, caught up with the cars in front when the safety car came out because of an accident, and got a good restart. I overtook at least four on the first lap and two after the safety car!

“The car understeered really bad the last 10 laps or so and I lost some ground, but before then I was keeping pace with some competitive runners so I can be pleased with that.”

In the second race there was another frantic fight. Once again Gelael made up places at the beginning, but in the last few laps there was a thrilling battle with Swiss driver Sandro Zeller and German Andre Rudersdorf. Zeller just managed to slipstream alongside at the chequered flag to take 19th place, with Sean 20th.

He repeated that result in the final race, finishing 20th after narrowly losing out on fights with German rivals Rudersdorf and Lucas Wolf.

“The car was really slow,” said Gelael. “I was on older tyres in the second race so I could use my final allocation of new tyres in the third, but that did not really improve things. Again I was quite pleased with my starts, making up three or four places, but I struggled badly not only with the tyres but also with the car set-up not being right.”

Sean now has a two-week break before the FIA Formula 3 European Championship teams will be back in action at Vallelunga, near the Italian capital city of Rome, on 12th/13th October.(ms/arl)

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Formula 3 & Rally Car
03/02/2013
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