Juan Manuel Correa Fights to Top 10 in Austria
Step One Automotive Group athlete, Juan Manuel Correa, returned to the top 10 at the Red Bull Ring to score a point in the Austrian leg of the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship.
A gearbox issue cruelly removed Juan Manuel from the fight for victory in Saturday’s Sprint, although the American-Ecuadorian driver battled to the top 10 in Sunday’s Feature Race.
He started the reverse grid Sprint from second on the grid and, by securing a solid getaway from the front row, launched an immediate attack on polesitter Caio Collet.
After running wheel-to-wheel with the Brazilian, Juan Manuel took the lead with a bold overtake outside Turn Four before a collision for Rafael Villagomez brought out the Safety Car.
Juan Manuel held the lead when the race was resumed on lap three and started to build an advantage over the field behind by setting the fastest lap of the race.
Unfortunately, he ground to a halt at the start of lap six and was forced to retire with a gearbox failure, although a wet Feature Race presented new opportunities on Sunday.
Lining up in 11th, the 22-year-old lost ground at the start after falling to 13th but quickly embarked on a recovery drive, with his sights set on the top 10.
The Safety Car was deployed on lap 21 following a spin for Zdenek Chovanec, and with the pack bunched up, Juan Manuel made further progress after avoiding a collision between Collet, Jonny Edgar, and Jak Crawford when the race resumed.
After slipping to 13th, Juan Manuel gained ground following a puncture for Kaylen Frederick before overtaking Reece Ushijima on the final lap.
A subsequent penalty for Roman Stanek promoted Juan Manuel to 10th post-race.
“We were extremely unlucky [in the Sprint Race],” he said. “I did a good start, got the lead on the first lap, and started to extend that lead after the Safety Car restart.
“Everything was going to plan, and then there was a gearbox failure when a very small screw broke for no reason.
“It’s very, very sad because I feel that the race was ours to win, and we left a lot of points out there, but racing is brutal like that sometimes.”
“Overall, a tough weekend. In the Feature Race, we were very close to the top 10 and were fortunate to score points.
“We still have work to do, and there are some positives to take but also some negatives. Now, we’re looking onwards to Budapest, which is in a few weeks, and we have some time to rest, disconnect and get on with important preparations.”
Juan Manuel holds 12th in the Drivers’ Championship with 22 points and will return to action on 30-31 July at the Hungaroring.
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