TATIANA BANKS VITAL POINTS AHEAD OF BARCELONA F3 FINALE

Tatiana Calderón laid the foundations for a successful end to her Euroformula Open campaign with another pair of solid points finishes in last weekend’s races in Jerez, Spain. Making her second appearance of the season for the RP Motorsport team, Tatiana made progress from her starting positions at the Andalusian track to finish sixth in the opening race and seventh in the second race, ending the weekend as her team’s highest points-scorer.

The weekend started promisingly for the Colombian driver, who ended Friday practice in the top five and well clear of her RP teammates after the three sessions. Saturday qualifying proved trickier, as she was only seventh fastest, and had to battle an overheating engine during the first race.

Despite that, Tatiana gained a place on the opening lap to move up to sixth, and spent the rest of the race frustrating the advances of title rival Ferdinand Habsburg – who was unable to find a way past the 23-year-old and ended up finishing three tenths adrift of her at the chequered flag.

Again, qualifying proved a challenge on Sunday, as Tatiana could do no better than ninth, although she went some way to making up for this with another typically aggressive start that allowed her to move up two positions. From there, it was a case of holding station and securing seventh.

Once guest drivers ineligible to score were removed from consideration, the Bogota-born, Madrid-based driver was awarded the equivalent of two fifth place finishes – moving her up to ninth place in the standings on 55 points and putting her in contention to end the season as high as sixth overall, with another 54 on offer in the final round of the season at Barcelona.

Tatiana also lies sixth in the Spanish F3 standings, which only takes into account the Estoril season-opener and the final two rounds of the Euroformula Open calendar.

Tatiana Calderón: “Overall it was a bit of a frustrating weekend in Jerez. We only found out in qualifying where we were, as practice was inconclusive. I made a little mistake in Saturday qualifying, and you only really get one hot lap around Jerez because of how demanding it is on the tyres. In the first race I made up a position at the start and managed to hold off Ferdinand Habsburg after that, so I was happy with P6 – especially as the engine was overheating, something which I managed well through the race. We were again missing some pace in qualifying on Sunday, so finishing P7 was not bad; I made some moves on the first lap, and then that was it because overtaking is more or less impossible at Jerez. At least we were consistent and we gained a few points for the championship. Now we need to focus on Barcelona – another demanding track where grid position is really critical to scoring good results. We’re working hard to make sure everything is ready, and hopefully we can challenge for podiums there.”

The final round of the Euroformula Open season takes place this coming weekend, on 4-6 November, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a circuit where Tatiana has racked up plenty of racing miles.

Her most recent outing at the 4.655-km track came at the start of the year in the GP3 Series, which means – as was the case with her appearance at the Red Bull Ring – she will be assessed a four-place grid penalty in the opening race.