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PODIUM AT THE RED BULL RING

"The third round of the Ferrari European Challenge Championship was to be held at the Red Bull Ring in the beautiful mountainous backdrops of the Austrian countryside. With no testing prior to the event at the circuit, it would always be an uphill battle against the other competitors on the grid.

 

Friday’s testing concluded that the team was close to the very front runners on the grid, yet lacked that little something extra to close the gap. Mixed conditions on the day meant that it was impossible to get some consistent running on the dry or wet tyres, as the track conditions were rapidly changing throughout the day. 

 

SATURDAY

 

Qualifying was the first order of business to kick off the weekend's official racing sessions. The track was dry and thankfully stayed dry throughout the session. Unfortunately however, our best lap time was deleted through breaching track limits out of the penultimate corner due to a slow car in front creating dirty air and pushing the car beyond the allowed limit.

 

This meant a relegation from P2 to P4 for the race in the afternoon.

 

As the lights went out and the race began, we had an amazing launch off of the start and pulled alongside P2 but was unfortunately squeezed out by the P2 driver onto the grass on the run up to turn 1 which killed our momentum.

 

An accident involving ex-F1 driver Adrian Sutil and a Pro-Am driver at turn 1 promoted me into P3 on the road and onto the podium spaces. Our early race pace was strong but unfortunately at the halfway mark the tyres had begun overheating and meant we were considerably less competitive for the second half of the race.

 

That being said however, we came across the line in P3 for another strong result for the team despite the adversity.

 

SUNDAY 

Sunday’s weather on paper seemed to be as straightforward as the previous day. However a late rainstorm 10 minutes before quali meant that wet tyres were frantically prepared and fitted before the start of qualifying.

 

After a hectic session including many red flags, our time was only good enough for P4. After struggling to get the tyres into the right temperature window, we left happy with the result.

 

In the race, another strong first lap saw me jump into third spot and only a short distance from second place. However, the tyres struggled to get up to temperature during this phase of the race and after some attempts on second place, I found myself defending and losing a position to P4.

 

In the last third of the race, the tyres were working optimally which meant I could attack the two in front and after having a long battle with Adrian Sutil for P3, I was not able to hop myself back onto the podium.

 

Overall, it was damage limitation for myself and the team due to the lack of testing at the track in comparison to the other top drivers."

-TF

Thomas Fleming's Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo
Thomas Fleming inside his  Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo
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