Barnicoat ninth in German opener

Ben Barnicoat recovered from a challenging qualifying session to begin the FIA European Formula 3 Championship weekend at the Nurburgring with a ninth place finish in the opening race.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, starting from 13th on the grid, made a good start to attack the field ahead, and swept around the outside of several cars including Motopark’s Guan Yu Zhou to move into ninth position.

Barnicoat targeted Yu Zhou’s team-mate Niko Kari ahead but after the opening laps, Barnicoat fell away to a deficit of over two seconds, falling into the clutches of the third Motopark machine of Sergio Sette Camara.

However, a number of cars in the field including Barnicoat’s Hitech GP racer, experienced a malfunction with the Virtual Safety Car light illuminating in their cockpit in error, reducing their speed.

Barnicoat responded well, extending his advantage to Sette Camara to a second, with positions and time differences remaining static for the remainder of the race.

Sette Camara lost 10th place to Van Amersfoort Racing’s Anthoine Hubert in the closing laps, but was unable to challenge Barnicoat by the chequered flag.

Prema’s championship leader Lance Stroll scored a comfortable victory ahead of his team-mate Maximilian Gunther. Barnicoat’s Hitech GP team-mate George Russell took the final podium spot.

Barnicoat will start from 15th position for the weekend’s second race of the weekend.