TATIANA SALVAGES POINTS FROM TOUGH ESTORIL WEEKEND

Tatiana Calderón concluded the first round of the new Euroformula Open season at Estoril by banking a solid top-six finish, ending a difficult weekend on a positive note.

Leading the charge on Teo Martin Motorsport’s first proper appearance in the championship, Tatiana made steady improvement across the weekend at the Portuguese circuit, but was still left frustrated by the deficit to the leading runners after claiming a distant sixth place in Sunday’s second race.

Having been forced to skip Thursday’s private testing due to clashing GP3 commitments, the 23-year-old Colombian began her season on Friday with two free practice sessions, but ended a tough day only 14th on the timesheets. She nonetheless managed to halve the gap to the leaders in time for qualifying on Saturday morning, lining up 11th for the season opener.

A lightning getaway from her grid slot gave Tatiana the chance of a good result to start off the new campaign with, but this was snatched from her when the left-rear of her car got tangled up with that of Antoni Ptak on the run down to the first corner – pitching Tatiana sideways into the barriers, and disappointingly bringing her day to a premature halt.

Things picked up on Sunday as the Bogota-born driver improved to seventh on the grid for the second race, and she moved up a position going into the first corner with another quick start. Repelling the advances of Ferdinand Habsburg in the opening part of the race, Tatiana held on to claim sixth place – in the process picking up valuable data to work with after her first race was cut short.

The eight points Tatiana picked up on Sunday place her ninth overall in the championship standings, as the only one of Teo Martin Motorsport’s four drivers to have scored points in Portugal.

Tatiana Calderón: “It’s been a very difficult weekend. We started off too far away from the frontrunning pace, as we were having a lot of trouble finding the correct balance with the car in practice. In the first race I made a really good start from 11th on the grid, but another driver hit me on the left side approaching Turn 1. As well as the disappointment of not scoring points, we also lost a lot of valuable track time. On Sunday we made a step forward as I qualified P7, and again I made a good start and kept the other guys behind. To finish the weekend a little bit closer was also a relief, but we still need to work hard to close the gap to the leaders – I’m looking forward to doing that in the next round at Spa.”

The second round of the Euroformula Open season takes place at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track, where Tatiana has excelled in the past, on 21-22 May. Prior to this, she will be making her debut in the Formula 1-supporting GP3 Series at Barcelona on 14-15 May. Euroformula Open points standings after Estoril: 1. Pulcini 45 2. Aitken 27 3. Menchaca 27 4. Fioravanti 27 5. Habsburg 20 — 9. Calderón 8