Sophia Floersch takes P4 from 8th on the grid in Imola race 3
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
German star Sophia Floersch showed her pace in Imola third race, as yesterday's tyre issues were solved.
In the wake of yesterday's tragedy in Spa Francorchamps, the motorsport community came back to racing with heavy hearts all around the world.
Starting from 8th, Sophia Floersch managed to immediately jump ahead of Kic Motorsport's Blomqvist and advanced to P7, while Vesti held the lead from Caldwell, Fittipaldi and Fraga, who had not the best starts from fourth on the grid.
On the first lap, Fraga went slightly off at Tosa corner and rejoined right in front of Floersch, allowing Guzman to gain P4.
Sophia started then a battle with Siebert behind, but the German girl defended well and always kept the US Racing driver at bay.
Schumacher and Fraga came together at the first Rivazza corner, with Schumacher having to surrender the position by going off track into the gravel. Floersch made one more position soon after, when Olli Caldwell went off at the second Rivazza and damaged his front wing against the tyre barriers. The Brit pitted to change the nosecone, but retired later in the race.
Floersch teammate, Alexandre Bardinon, went off at Tosa, bringing out the Safety Car. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Sophia had a brilliant restart and went side by side on the main straight with Fraga, but it was chaos at the first corner, as Guzman went into the gravel and spun in front of Sophia while rejoining the track. The young German took a masterful evasive action and avoided the Mexican, bringing herself up to P4.
The restart was though a matter of investigation for the stewards, as race leader Vesti waved visibly on the main straight right before the green flag. The Danish Prema driver was put under scrutiny, and later handed a 5 seconds penalty.
With Floersch in fourth and checking out from Siebert behind, the first F3 podium might have been at reaching distance, but in the last stages of the race Vesti opened a safe gap from his rivals, with only teammate Enzo Fittipaldi within the penalty window.
Floersch took home a solid fourth place that impressively makes up for yesterday 7th and 8th finishes. Importantly, the tyre issues that the Van Amersfoort driver suffered earlier this weekend seem to be solved.
"We started the weekend not really knowing where we were, as we did testing and it went well; in free practice 1 and 2 it was ok, but sadly in qualifying we had technical issues again. The tyres were not balanced and the car was vibrating in both qualis. That was the reason why I had to start from the back both races." - commented Floersch, summarizing her weekend so far in Imola.
"Yesterday in race 1, from P11 I had a poor start so I lost one position at the start and was P12. But then I finished P7, I had some cool overtakes and had some fun.
In the second race I started P8 and finished P8: the pace was getting better but we had vibrations again. We were talking with Pirelli the whole day yesterday, but then of course we received the bad news from Spa and the mood was not very good."
"This morning I started P8 and finished P4, so quite good. The pace was ok. Of course I was also lucky, because some of the other guys crashed, but now we'll see the fourth race. Starting P3, I hope to make the most out of it."
Floersch, whose car features a tribute Anthoine Hubert, will start from third on the grid for today's fourth race, as Formula Regional European Championship recovers the canceled Vallelunga race 3.
Sharon Scolari also had a positive race, as the Swiss racer kept improving her lap times and completed the race without technical issues in 11th place: "I'm very pleased with this race, finally we didn't have issues with the fuel pump even though we still had to carry a lot more fuel onboard. I'm starting to get acquainted with the track, I like it and I still improved my lap times."
"It's still a very hard day for motorsport after what happened yesterday, we were all shocked here in Imola as well, as F4, F3 and F2 are all a big family. It's very tough to race with this thought. It's hard to believe that in 2019 drivers still lose their lives, and it shows what we do every time we go on track, as Lewis Hamilton said yesterday. We do it because it's our passion and we love it, but people that don't understand motorsport will never get it." - said Scolari on Sunday's morning.
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com