A learning weekend for Drivex at Paul Ricard

A learning weekend for Drivex at Paul Ricard

24.08.2020: The Spanish-based team contested the second round of the Euroformula F3 Open Championship and the Formula 4 Spanish Championship in Le Castellet this weekend, with promising results for upcoming events.

The Spanish-based team contested the second round of the Euroformula F3 Open Championship and the Formula 4 Spanish Championship in Le Castellet this weekend, with promising results for upcoming events.


Drivex closed-out a promising double weekend in the Euroformula F3 Open and Formula 4 Spanish Championships at the famous Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France. All seven drivers racing in Drivex colors showed strong, solid pace throughout the weekend, both in the Formula 3-based racing series and the FIA-sanctioned Formula 4 Championship.

Glenn van Berlo and Shihab Al Habsi, the youngest driver in the field, were back on track in the Euroformula Championship with their two Drivex-run Dallara 320 cars. After making a remarkable start to the season at the Hungaroring, both youngsters headed into the second round determined to make progress and learn as much as possible.

The Dutchman posted a best lap of 1m56.060s on Thursday with Omani Al Habsi clocking a personal best lap of 1m56.365s after Drivex was able to solve gearbox issues, which hampered his running throughout the opening day. Both drivers improved their pace on Friday, with Al Habsi setting a lap time of 1m55.757s to finish 9th overall and Dutchman van Berlo finishing tenth fastest with a time of 1m55.782s.

Saturday’s Q1 took place in the morning with van Berlo setting a time of 1m55.019s with his teammate Al Habsi a mere tenth slower with a time of 1m55.105s. Both Drivex-entered cars made a good start and avoided any incident in the first laps.

Van Berlo and Al Habsi moved through the field with the Dutchman finally taking the ninth spot after passing long-time F3 racer Cameron Das with four laps to go. More importantly, van Berlo was second in the rookies’ classification, with Al Habsi taking the checkered flag in eleventh place making him third-fastest rookie driver.

On Sunday, Al Habsi competently put all lap sectors together to take the eleventh spot on the grid with a lap of 1m54.797s. Van Berlo had been in the top-8 on his first set of tyres but couldn’t make the most out of his second set and qualified 12th with a lap time of 1m54.931s.

Unfortunately, both drivers got hit by their rivals in the first half of the race. Van Berlo was spun by Alexandre Bardinon and Al Habsi had a similar fate when Manuel Maldonado hit the back of his Dallara. Van Berlo managed to put in a solid recovery drive and finally crossed the finish line in tenth place. Similarly, Al Habsi had moved up to 13th by the end of the 16-lap race.

Overall, it was a strong weekend in the Euroformula F3 Open. Drivex has now set its sights on improving in qualifying, as its drivers already have race pace to run in the top-five. Despite their almost zero mileage in winter testing, Al Habsi and van Berlo are constantly improving and they look like top contenders for the second half of the season.

In the Formula 4 Spanish Championship, Drivex entered five cars for Ivan Nosov, Valdemar Eriksen, Lena Bühler and Frenchmen Paul-Adrien Pallot and Augustin Collinot, who were contesting their home round at Paul Ricard.

Russian Nosov posted the ninth fastest lap time in Q1 for Drivex with a lap time of 2m05.819s, with Swiss female racer Bühler a few thousandths of a second slower in tenth place. Nosov moved up to eighth later in the race and Eriksen rounded out the top-ten. Collinot and Pallot finished further adrift with Bühler retiring after her car overturned following a clash whilst she was running in the top-ten.

Nosov spearheaded the Drivex charge once again in Q2 by clocking the 7th-fastest lap time with an impressive 2m05.686s. In Race 2 the Russian driver took the checkered flag in ninth place after nine laps. Eriksen, with his FA Racing by Drivex-colored Tatuus, and Collinot finished close behind with two recovery drives from the back of the field.

Young female ace Bühler also showed another display of talent by setting the third-fastest race lap despite having to navigate through the field. The weekend came to an end with Race 3 in which Nosov finished seventh at the wheel of his Tatuus-Abarth. Pallot and Collinot finished 11th and 12th respectively.

At the end of the weekend, Drivex and its drivers made a step in the right direction and established the right car set-up, which has encouraged the whole team for the upcoming events of the Spanish Formula 4 Championship.

The Pan-European Euroformula F3 Open will resume in three weeks’ time with Round 3 at ultra-fast Red Bull Ring in Austria, with the F4 Spanish Championship heading to southern Spain for the third round at Jerez in mid-September.

Shihab Al Habsi (Euroformula F3 Open driver):
‘‘I am still playing catch-up with the rest of the field as I get used to working with the Drivex team and adapting the car to suit my driving style. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions my test mileage as compared to other drivers is still very small and I hope to test a lot more before the next race in Austria in just under three weeks, so I can start to move towards the front of the grid. I would like to thank Drivex for all their fantastic help and my sponsors from Oman for making all this possible”

Glenn van Berlo (Euroformula F3 Open driver):
“Again a weekend with a lot of progress. Race pace is there but qualifying needs improvement. I am sure this will come with more mileage in the car. The package felt better every time I got into the car. We will keep working, step-by-step, until everything falls into place. Big thanks to everyone from Drivex to my sponsors.”

Miguel Ángel de Castro (Team Principal):
“We continue improving little-by-little. Both championships are closely-fought series with very experienced fields. Shihab and Glenn already have strong race pace and are now closer to the front drivers. I have no doubt that they will be able to challenge for top-5 finishes before long.

Our goal now is to improve in qualifying, as it is key to make the most from new tyres to secure a better qualifying result. Our Formula 4 drivers are learning the hard way, but they never give up. They are gaining experience, understanding how the car works and Jerez will bring us another opportunity to achieve the expected results.”

 Drivex S.L. also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/learning-drivex-paul-ricard-euroformula---211322.html

24.08.2020 / MaP

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