Devlin DeFrancesco continued to impress in his rookie Euroformula Open season, collecting another two podiums at Jerez, Spain, taking his championship tally to six.
Having scored top-three finishes at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps already this year, the Carlin driver was optimistic of a good performance in the penultimate round of the season.
Devlin was second fastest in two of the three free practice sessions and was confident of fighting for a front row start on Saturday.
A red flag late in qualifying meant the drivers could only complete one flying lap with the track at its best, but the Canadian-Italian didn’t crack under pressure and produced a stunning lap to go second fastest.
“The car felt really good in practice,” Devlin explained. “Then qualifying came and it was very tense! We crossed the line with three seconds remaining and pulled out a mega lap.
“We knew that our grid position would be very important here because overtaking is so difficult. I was pleased with the performance and it was probably the best we could’ve hoped for.”
It was a solid getaway from Devlin in the first race, but the short run to Turn 1 left him unable to challenge for the lead and he held station in second place.
The 17-year-old built a comfortable gap over the chasing pack, posting the second fastest lap of the race before a safety car bunched-up the field. A solid restart saw Devlin pull away again, finishing a deserved second.
“In race one the pace was good and I didn’t have much pressure from behind,” Devlin said. “[Harrison] Scott wasn’t pulling away too much though and we knew that there was more speed to come for Sunday.”
After encountering traffic during his fastest lap in qualifying two, Devlin lined up in third for Sunday’s race.
It was another good start, with the 2016 F4 British Championship race-winner harrying Nikita Troitskiy for second. There are few places to overtake around the 4.422 km circuit though, and despite a strong challenge, Devlin had to settle for third.
“Unfortunately, I left my fast lap until too late in qualifying which meant we had to start behind Troitskiy,” Devlin said. “We actually had more pace in race two and if we were able to get into second then I would’ve been able to challenge for the win.
“It’s a good result for the championship though, the aim is to finish third so we will need a strong showing in Barcelona, which I think we can do. Looking back on the season as a whole I think it’s been successful, we’ve had ups and downs but the pace has been good and I’ve learnt a lot.”
This result sees Devlin close to within six points of third in the Euroformula Open standings heading into the last round at Barcelona. The Carlin star also leads the Spanish F3 Championship by 24 points.
Next for Devlin will be the FIA European Formula 3 Championship’s visit to Hockenheim, Germany (14-15 October), before he heads back to Spain for the Euroformula Open finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (20-22 October).