Carlin driver Devlin DeFrancesco aims for another podium finish in the third round of the Euroformula Open, as the series heads to Circuit Paul Ricard, France (10-11 June).
Off the back of a double-podium finish in only his second race at this level in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, the Canadian-Italian heads to the South of France third in the Drivers’ Championship and tops the rookie standings.
“It’s great to be the leading rookie heading to Paul Ricard, but to be honest I had no idea! I’m battling for the overall championship and that’s what I’m concentrating on,” said Devlin.
“We’re in a very good position right now and I’m confident we can push to challenge those ahead. [Harrison] Scott has been quick so far, but I felt we definitely had the pace to beat him in Spa, so it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.”
The Le Castellet circuit is one of the few that 17-year-old Devlin has driven at in a two-litre Toyota-powered Formula 3 car, having participated in the pre-season test and Winter Series races there in March.
Back then, Devlin showed his potential by finishing sixth and seventh, but the 2016 F4 British Championship race-winner believes he and Trevor Carlin’s team are more prepared to fight for a podium this time.
“When we last came I was very new to the championship,” Devlin explained. “Now though, we’re well prepared for this weekend! I’ve done about six race runs on the simulator and we’ve continued to make progress back at the factory since Spa.
“We just need to hit the ground running on Friday and then it’ll be maximum attack. Qualifying will be important here and that’s something else I’ve been focusing on these past couple of weeks.”
Devlin is looking forward to returning to the 5.842 km circuit, which is confirmed as the French Grand Prix venue for 2018, and particularly enjoys the long right-handed Beausset.
“I enjoyed the circuit last time we came, especially Turn 11,” Devlin said. “You drop a gear but keep the speed pretty high, so you’re really bouncing off the rev limiter.
“In terms of setup, we’re pretty quick in a straight line, which is important at a circuit like this. The weather will be more predictable than Spa, it’s guaranteed to be dry so that’s one less thing to factor in!”
Free practice will begin on Friday, before the first qualifying session and race one get underway on Saturday. There will also be a second qualifying heat and race on Sunday (click here for a full weekend timetable).