A brace of fourth place finishes for Double R Racing’s Tatiana Calderon were the highlights of a super successful outing in the 2013 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Belgium’s legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit (26-27 July).
The Ardennes basked in beautiful sunshine on Thursday and Calderon shone just as brightly, recording consistently quick lap times during free practice and qualifying.
Conditions deteriorated drastically thereafter, as a heavy downpour saturated the circuit during the build-up to the weekend’s opening British F3 encounter on Friday (26 July).
Despite the treacherous conditions, Calderon made a good start. The 20-year old stayed out of harm’s way as the field bunched at the La Source hairpin, settling into a rhythm that saw her lap the 4.35m-long Spa circuit as the fastest of the Double R Racing contenders.
The Colombian lady racer eventually benefited from a terrifying shunt involving Jann Mardenborough and Nicholas Latifi, finishing in a highly respectable fourth place between team-mates Sean Gelael and Antonio Giovinazzi.
After making a rapid start from fourth on the grid in wet conditions, a rejuvenated Calderon was tucked underneath the rear-wing of Giovanazzi in second place in the opening stages of Round 5.
The rain clouds eventually dissipated, but Calderon struggled to find a rhythm on an ever-drying track surface, opening the door to Jordan King and Will Buller with a couple of small unforced errors that saw her take a second consecutive fourth place finish.
Conditions were changeable once again on Saturday (27 July). An earlier thunderstorm had turned the undulating Spa circuit into a river and visibility worsened again when the rain began falling as Round 6 got underway.
A relatively sluggish start by Calderon and severe aquaplaning prevented her from making an impression on those ahead of her during the first few laps, although her pace grew stronger as the race progressed and she consolidated her Spa weekend with a sixth place finish.
“I’m delighted with my performance at Spa,” said Calderon. “We started the weekend well and I think my previous experience of the track really helped, as I was able to focus more on what I wanted from the car, rather than just learning the circuit.
“I thought qualifying could have gone a lot better because, while we made some set up changes after practice, I still felt something was missing. But my pace was not only consistent, but quick in the races. Spa isn’t an easy circuit and I think we showed we can be really competitive. I was the fastest Double R Racing driver for the most part, but I need to work on my starts if I want to be on the podium.”
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will recommence on UK soil at the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent on 10-11 August.