Barnicoat retires from Imola race two

Ben Barnicoat was forced to retire from a tussle which led to a trip through the gravel trap in race two of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship penultimate round at Imola.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver who had already scored a ninth place finish in the previous day’s opening race of the weekend, had set the seventh quickest time in the second qualifying session.

Barnicoat made a steady start to move past Mucke Motorsport’s Mikkel Jensen into sixth on lap two before a safety car was called to remove Callum Ilott’s Van Amersfoort Racing car which stopped in the gravel trap with a mechanical issue.

At the restart, Barnicoat attacked Ilott’s team-mate Harrison Newey but was also under pressure from Motopark’s Sergio Sette Camara and the Brazilian was able to make his way past as the top seven cars pulled away from Jensen by a one-second margin.

A second safety car was required when Prema’s Maximilian Gunther crashed into the wall opposite the pit entry, with his car coming to a halt in the middle of the track.

On the race resumption, Barnicoat’s lead to Jensen had been eroded, and he was forced to heavily defend from the Danish racer.

The pair ran through the gravel trap on lap 15 with Jensen attempting to run around the outside of Barnicoat’s Hitech GP machine.

Despite skirting briefly through the gravel, Barnicoat’s hopes of contending further were dashed when he was forced to retire into the pit lane following the excursion. 

Prema's Lance Stroll scored victory, and courtesy of his win along with Gunther's retirement handed Stroll the championship title, the first European F3 crown for a Canadian-born driver. Joel Eriksson took second place, with Barnicoat's team-mate George Russell in third.

Officials later penalised Barnicoat, handing him a three-place grid penalty for the day’s final race of the weekend.