Tough Zandvoort opener for Barnicoat

Ben Barnicoat was unable to make significant progress from his back of the grid slot, resulting in an 18th place finish in the opening race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship weekend at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

Following a frustrating first qualifying session of the weekend the previous day, which Barnicoat was forced to skip after his Hitech GP squad discovered a leak in the brake line, the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver had to start Saturday’s opening from the back of the grid.

Formula 3 rookie Barnicoat made a solid start to the race, battling with Carlin’s F3 returnee Weiron Tan, and soon also picked up a further place to 18th ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Harrison Newey.

Barnicoat was immediately battling with his team-mate Nikita Mazepin ahead but despite trailing the Russian by 0.4 seconds throughout the reminder of the race, Barnicoat was unable to make a pass.

With no further positional changes, and a lack of track limits penalties which blighted the grid at the previous round at the Norisring, Barnicoat took the chequered flag in 18th position.

Prema’s Lance Stroll scored a comfortable victory from his fourth place start, making an excellent manoeuvre around the outside of those ahead at turn one on the opening lap, and sprinted clear from his team-mate Nick Cassidy. Carlin’s Alessio Lorandi took third.

Barnicoat will start race two from 11th position, after Stroll and Motopark’s Sergio Sette Camara were excluded from Friday’s second and third qualifying session.