Positive clean race for Floersch in Spielberg Round 2 first race
Sophia Floersch conquered her second top 20 finish in a tricky half-race halted by the red flag.
After last week's season opener, the FIA F3 Championship doubled with second round in the Austrian Red Bull Ring circuit.
German lady Sophia Floersch kicked off with a positive debut with a P16 in last Sunday's race, and started the second weekend round of the season with an impressive performance in the Friday's free practice session, claiming the tenth best lap of the field.
A great rhythm that the Campos driver also kept in qualifyng despite a difficult session characterized by two red flags that not allowed her to finish her last effort on par with her expectations.
These continuous interruptions forced Sophia to end with the Twentieth time.
" P20 in quali. Lost 3/10 in the last turn because of a slow rolling car.
P10-12 was real. Tomorrow we expect rain." - said Sophia after the short session.
In fact, the race started with challenging weather conditions, which were destined to get worse over time.
Some drivers initially went on the grid with slick tires but opted to return to the pits after the formation lap, and started the race from the pit lane.
It was a perfect starting reaction from pole sitter Frederick Vesti, followed by Lirim Zendeli, as these two young drivers were protagonist of an interesting battle for the lead in the opening Red Bull Ring corners.
Behind them, Beckmann and Oscar Piastri fought for the third spot, and in the meanwhile Sophia Floersch lost one position to Matteo Nannini, placing herself in P21.
More exciting action came from Sophia's teammate Alex Peroni, Macau's 2019 winner Richard Verschoor and Liam Lawson for P8.
Verschoor was able to pass the Campos driver, that successively dropped another position after a contact with an aggresive Liam Lawson on lap 3.
In the midfield, Novalak moved past Sophia.
Race leader Vesti became authour of a series of impessive fast laps and earned a comfortable 1,9 seconds gap from the rest of group.
The Virtual Safety car came out on lap 5 when the ART GP driver Alexander Smolyar went out of the race, leaving debris on the track.
Sophia ran in P20 and battled with the talented Dennis Hauger and Matteo Nannini.
The action restarted on lap 6 and immediately Hauger made the overtake on Floersch, that dropped to P22 when Viscaal took advantage from that fight.
Some drivers complained about the poor visibility conditions, with an increasingly heavy rain affecting the Spielberg track.
Few laps later, the Safety Car was called out when Novalak went out for a puncture to the left rear wheel.
In the following restart at lap 12, third placed Beckmann made a strong restart ad attacked Zendeli for P2 and a super Olly Caldwell made a move on Oscar Piastri for P4.
The English driver was authour of a great first part of race, able to gain four positions from his starting place.
Behind them, Richard Verschoor won a battle against Prema's driver Logan Sargeant for the sixth place, Sophia Floersch managed a positive restart as well and retained P21, but immediatley another Safety Car interrupted the action when Roman Stanek spun out, and also Sebastian Fernandez made a mistake that put him off the track, all caused by the prohibitive weather conditions that forced the race direction to interrupt the competition on lap 15 of 24 with a red flag, without the possibility to bring to an end to the race.
Frederick Vesti won and signed the fasted lap, followed by the three Trident's drivers Zendeli, Beckmann and Caldwell. Prema's Oscar Piastri, MP's Verschoor, Logan Sargeant, Liam Lawson, Theo Pourchaire and Jake Hughes completed the top 10.
Sophia Floersch ended 19th and was able to manage a clean race despite all the difficulties of this challenging morning.
Now we are all waiting for a better condition for tomorrow's race, with the German star that proved to have a good chance to continue her improvements in her second appaerence in the FIA F3 Championship.