TATIANA BACK ON THE PODIUM IN AUSTRIA F3 RETURN

Tatiana Calderón claimed a podium finish in a highly successful one-off return to the Euroformula Open championship last weekend at the Red Bull Ring, Austria. Joining forces with the RP Motorsport team, the Colombian racer impressed in her first outing in the series since May’s Spa-Francorchamps round by finishing third and fifth in the two Austrian races.

Despite the challenge of racing for a brand new team – and having to reacclimatise to F3 machinery after four months of competing exclusively in the GP3 Series – Tatiana was on the pace immediately, setting the second quickest time in the first qualifying session and coming within three tenths of poleman Colton Herta.

Unfortunately, the 23-year-old found herself demoted to sixth on the grid for Saturday’s opening race for having previously raced at the Red Bull Ring this year in GP3. But, a combination of a typically strong start and some first-lap contact among her rivals put Tatiana up to fourth early on.

After a brief Safety Car period, she took advantage of an error by championship leader Leonardo Pulcini to move up a place to third, where she was able to stay for the remaining laps to claim a hard-earned podium finish, her first of the season in a points-paying race.

Tatiana had her grid position for Sunday’s second race compromised by a fuel pump issue in qualifying that restricted her to sixth, a position she maintained for the opening part of the race until Antoni Ptak spun out of third place.

That promoted Tatiana to fifth, and despite her best efforts to pass the car of former MRF Challenge rival Nikita Troitskiy ahead, that was where the Bogota-born driver would finish – once again leading home the five-strong RP Motorsport contingent.

Tatiana Calderón: “My first weekend with the RP Motorsport team was a very positive one. Straight away we had really good pace, and it was very encouraging to qualify in P2 for the first race and be quite close to pole. Of course we had to start P6 because of the penalty, but I did a good start, managed to avoid the incidents early on, and from there it was a straightforward race to finish P3 – and it was a great feeling to finally get my first podium of the season in Euroformula Open. It was a shame to only qualify P6 for the second race because of the fuel pump issue, although we were missing some pace in the race. Overtaking was very difficult and in the end I brought the car home P5, but to again be the team’s top finisher was satisfying and a good way to finish the weekend.”

Tatiana now turns her attention back towards GP3 as she prepares for the penultimate round of the Formula 1-supporting championship at Sepang, Malaysia, on 30 September-2 October.