Canadian driver Devlin DeFrancesco is confident of challenging for wins on his debut Euroformula Open weekend with Carlin, but believes qualifying will be key at the Estoril circuit in Portugal (29-30 April).
After a successful inaugural single-seaters campaign in 2016, finishing fifth in the F4 British Championship, the 17-year-old believes that he will quickly be able to challenge for victories with the highly successful British team, despite his limited experience in Formula 3 machinery.
“I don’t have as much experience as most of the drivers in this championship,” Devlin explained. “Even though there are quite a few rookies, a lot of them have raced at this level before.
“Despite this, I feel really comfortable in the car. We worked incredibly hard over the winter and I’ve had quite a bit of time to get used to how it drives. It’s very different to the F4 from last year!”
Devlin was second on both days of the final test at Jerez, Spain, and also drove the two-litre Toyota-powered Dallara F3 car at Estoril over the winter.
Three test sessions took place at the Portuguese circuit on Thursday, with Devlin posting the fourth fastest time in the final run.
Rain is expected for both races, however the Toronto driver still believes that qualifying could decide the results and is aiming for a front row start.
“Qualifying is so important around here,” Devlin said. “There are very few places to overtake, especially in these cars. You can really feel the difference in the handling when you’re following someone.
“The rain will obviously become a factor for the race and could throw things up in the air, but I still think qualifying will decide it. Some of my best results have come in the wet, so if I can get myself on the front row I’m sure a win won’t be out of the question.”
Free practice will continue throughout Friday, before the first qualifying session and race one get underway on Saturday. There will also be a second qualifying session and race on Sunday (click here for a full weekend timetable).
Devlin is running with #BillyWhizz stickers on his car this weekend in support of his friend and rival Billy Monger, who suffered life-changing injuries in a crash at Donington Park two weeks ago. To support Billy in his recovery, visit his Just Giving page here.