Van Berlo and Al Habsi complete positive Euroformula F3 Open debut at the Hungaroring

Van Berlo and Al Habsi complete positive Euroformula F3 Open debut at the Hungaroring

10.08.2020: Both drivers delivered strong performances in their Drivex-entered all-new Dallara 320. Dutchman van Berlo brought third and fourth place finishes home among the rookies with Omani Al Habsi scoring two fifth places for the Spain-based team

Both drivers delivered strong performances in their Drivex-entered all-new Dallara 320. Dutchman van Berlo brought third and fourth place finishes home among the rookies with Omani Al Habsi scoring two fifth places for the Spain-based team


Budapest, August 10th 2020. Drivex and its young gun pairing of Shihab Al Habsi and Glenn van Berlo made a positive start to the 2020 Euroformula F3 Open season at the Hungaroring. Both drivers kicked off the season in the ultra-competitive Formula 3-based racing series and showed promising results for upcoming events of the Pan-European championship.

Unlike their rivals, neither van Berlo nor Al Habsi, the youngest driver in the field, had carried out winter testing in their all-new Dallara 320 machineries and got their first taste of the cars last Thursday when they rolled out of pit lane on the Hungarian circuit for the first time. After private testing and Friday’s free practice sessions van Berlo and Al Habsi completed more than seventy laps each with the Dutchman clocking a best time of 1m35.628s and the Omani rising star setting a personal best time of 1m36.093s.

With more experience under their belt, both drivers defending the Drivex colors headed into Saturday’s Q1 in high spirits. Van Berlo posted a best lap time of 1m34.879s to put his Dallara into to tenth spot on the starting grid. Al Habsi clocked a lap time of 1m35.221s and set to start from 12th on the grid. Both drivers focused on making a good start considering that is notoriously difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring.

Van Berlo moved up to ninth at the start with his teammate running right behind his tail after just two laps. After 17 laps, van Berlo took the checkered flag in ninth place and Al Habsi finished tenth keeping long-time F3 racers Rui Andrade and Alexandre Bardinon at bay. Last but not least, van Berlo finished fourth among the rookies and Al Habsi fifth.

On Sunday, Q2 took place again very early in the morning. There, it was an all-Drivex row six with Al Habsi clocking a lap time of 1m34.907s and van Berlo a mere tenth of a second slower with his best lap of 1m35.040s. It was another “all or nothing” at the start. Van Berlo soon gained three places and was up to ninth. Unfortunately, Al Habsi experienced power loss in his HWA-built engine as a result of exhaust problems and it hurt his chances of making further advances.

After 17 tours, van Berlo crossed the finish line in ninth place and third among the rookies. Al Habsi came home eleventh and took a hard-earned fifth place among the rookies. The Omani driver suffered from constant neck pain due to g-forces on Sunday as a result of a lack of seat time but he overcome such problems to bring the car home.

Overall, it was a positive start to the season. Al Habsi and van Berlo made steady progress throughout a difficult weekend on which almost everything was absolutely different for them: a new championship, a new car and a new circuit. There is further room for improvement in qualifying, in which they still have to gain more experience in order to get the most out of new tires. But their race pace was pretty solid with lap times almost the same as those posted by the drivers running up the front.

The second round of the Euroformula F3 Open will take place in two weeks’ time at Circuit Paul Ricard, the famous race track built near Le Castellet (France). Unlike Hungaroring, van Berlo and Al Habsi already have previous racing experience in Le Castellet.

Glenn van Berlo (Driver):
“Hard weekend, but this is the reality. This is the starting point from where we have to start working. Unfortunately, I have not been able to make a lot of test kilometers. Over the weekend I did make a lot of progress, and that's the most important thing now. Even if as a driver you want to compete right away in the front of the field, although that is not entirely realistic.

I have it clear to myself which points I need to work on and I will do everything I can to improve those points. I am happy with the team around me, all the mechanics who work super hard to build a good car, but also my engineer Paul and of course Miguel where I can learn a lot from his experiences and advice.”

Shihab Al Habsi (Driver):
“My first start in Euroformula was good and it didn’t take long for me to get into a rhythm and start improving my times. I gradually reeled-in drivers in front and was delighted to overtake two other cars in the first half of the race on a track that is difficult to overtake on. I continued to push as fast as I could, but with races only being 17 laps, the chequered flag came out before I could make up any more places.

The field is very strong and we always knew that we would be playing catch-up for the first few races, as I get used to working with the Drivex team and adapting the car to suit my driving style. The more seat-time I can get in the car over the next few weeks will dictate how quickly I can start to move towards the front of the grid”

Miguel Ángel de Castro (Team Principal):
“We are happy with our performance at the Hungaroring under the circumstances. The season-opener is never easy and it gets even more difficult when you take up such a huge challenge. Glenn and Shihab made huge improvements in the all-new Dallara 320 cars at the Hungaroring, which was another step into the unknown for them.

Besides, the Hungaroring circuit is very technically demanding, which made things even harder. But they improved every single time that they hit the track. Of course, we have to continue working to gain extra pace in Le Castellet. Considering both drivers already have racing experience there, we feel extremely confident for the French venue. No doubts Shihab and Glenn will display their talent at Paul Ricard. Keep pushing!”


Drivex S.L. photos / FotoSpeedy


10.08.2020 / MaP

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