Barnicoat banks points in EF3 opener

Ben Barnicoat completed a points-scoring finish following the first of this weekend’s three FIA European Formula 3 Championship races at Hungaroring.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, who was disappointed to only qualify in 12th place for the opening encounter, had targeted a top-10 finish on a circuit which is notoriously difficult to overtake around.

Following a brief opening lap safety car period, the Hitech GP racer soon became embroiled in separate scraps for positions within the top 10 involving fellow rookie Guan Yu Zhou and Carlin duo Ryan Tveter and Alessio Lorandi.

American Tveter was the first to drop away from the pack, promoting Barnicoat into the top 10, and a second tussle with Yu Zhou and the Chinese driver’s Motopark team-mate Sergio Sette Camara for eighth place.

Barnicoat’s team-mate George Russell, who began from second place on the grid, and who took the lead at the opening corner, later succumbed to a tyre issue and was forced to retire.

It promoted Barnicoat to ninth place, and having fitted his worst set of tyres for the entire weekend, along with lap times increasing due to tyre wear, he was unable to make further progress.

Prema Powerteam racer Ralf Aron scored his maiden European F3 race victory. The podium was completed with two further rookie drivers, with the Motopark pair of Niko Kari and Joel Eriksson.

Barnicoat will begin the second of three races from eighth place on the grid, later this afternoon.