A challenging second Euroformula round for Vivien Keszthelyi
It wasn't an easy second Euroformula Open round for Hungarian driver Vivien Keszthelyi at Circuit Paul Ricard: with three challenging races, Vivien was nevertheless able to score points in Race 1.
After the first weekend on the support bill of Formula 1, Euroformula Open re-joined the International GT Open paddock at Paul Ricard this weekend, to contest the second round of its 2021 season. Among the 12 drivers on the grid, it was again Hungarian racing star and former W Series driver Vivien Keszthelyi.
The 20-year old was the protagonist of a remarkable pre-season testing at Barcelona, where she made top-five apperances, and was solidly in the top ten at the season opener in Portimao at her Formula 3 racing return after a long stop.
In the South of France, the qualifying session was a battle between Motopark drivers Jak Crawford - who missed the first two races in Portugal as he had not turned 16 yet - and Cameron Das. The two American drivers were the fastest on track in free practice and fought for pole; it was Crawford to set the fastest lap time on the French circuit in the end, ahead of Das and Rafael Villagomez (Van Amersfoort Racing). Vivien Keszthelyi, who was left looking for pace in free practice, found some speed and finished P12 yet not that far behind Zdenek Chovanec (Double R Racing).
Crawford was able to defend his first position at the start of Race 1 and pulled away from his teammate Das. But this gap was neutralised when the Safety Car came out for the stranded and smoking car of Enzo Scionti (Drivex).
The restart was again on point for Crawford, as Das was in trouble for the return of Louis Foster (CryptoTower) who attacked him for the second position - with no success.
Crawford took a dominant win, with Das in second - who also scored the fastest lap time on the penultimate lap - and Foster in third.
Vivien Keszthelyi had a difficult for race pace-wise, but was still able to bring the car home and scored one point as she crossed the finish line in tenth position.
"[Coming from Portimao] I really expected that it could just go upwards, as we improved a lot there, and I got more feeling for the car. Now, as we are here in Paul Ricard, it has been a disaster, a nightmare because we just went in a really wrong way with the setup and we had also some engine issues in the beginning." - Vivien told us. "We were lacking so much top speed - like eight or nine kph. And that wasn't helping the situation obviously." - she commented.
Due to the reverse grid format, the top six were reversed, leaving Nazim Azman (CryptoTower Racing) on pole position for Race 2, ahead of Casper Stevenson (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Rafael Villagomez.
It was again Crawford to shine in the race: the Red Bull backed driver started from sixth, but moved up to third on lap one. Azman had troubles at the start and collided with Villagomez, just as Foster was able to go around the outside and gain positions on both Azman and Stevenson - moving into the lead.
Azman and Villagomez were both able to continue, but dropped down the order while Foster in the lead pulled away. But it wasn't game over for Crawford: the young driver was the fastest driver on track and passed Stevenson in second and tried to hunt down teammate Foster.
The Brit made no mistakes, but Crawford was unstoppable and passed him around the outside of the first corner on the penultimate lap to take his second victory of the weekend. Stevenson scored the last podium spot, ahead of Enzo Trulli (Drivex School).
Vivien Keszthelyi found some speed after setup changes and had a good battle with Chovanec - who ultimately got in front and gained tenth place - with Vivien finishing P11.
The grid for Race 3 again saw Crawford alongside Foster and Das just behind them. When the lights went out, Foster was able to pass Crawford for the lead. The battle was on and Das overtook Crawford around the outside for second place, but Jak reclaimed the position - only to switch back to Das at the next corner. This allowed Joshua Mason (Double R Racing) to join the leading group.
Crawford was back to second again and caught up with Foster in front; Das followed closely and the trio went into Turn 10 wheel to wheel. The battle went on and Mason joined the party as he tried to pass Das for third. There was drama when Crawford and Foster made contact: Foster spun and Crawford went off, but were able to rejoin the track. Both battled for the win and it was Das this time to come out on top, winning his fourth race this season, ahead of Crawford and Villagomez.
Vivien Keszthelyi had another challenging race and finished P11, ahead of Filip Kaminiarz (Crypto Tower).
"I think Spa will be really better - much better." - Keszthelyi said after the races. The Hungarian had proved her speed in testing and just needs to work with her team to solve the setup gremlins that prevented her to perform as she expected.
"We were P5 on the test, which was really promising - but obviously everyone at the race weekends bring out more pace from themselves. This weekend is just one to forget mentally, solve the problems and move onwards." - she concluded.
The third Euroformula Open event will take place from 18th to 20th June at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, where Vivien Keszthelyi will try to bounce back and score more points in her first full-time F3 season.