Juan Manuel Correa Takes Fourth in F3 Bahrain Season Opener
Step One Automotive Group athlete, Juan Manuel Correa, commenced the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship with a pair of points finishes at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The American-Ecuadorian driver narrowly missed out on the podium in Sunday’s Feature Race and secured further points in the Sprint Race one day earlier.
In Saturday’s shorter reverse grid event, Juan Manuel started from seventh but faced an uphill battle following a difficult opening lap.
Throughout the race, tire management proved to be crucial, and after battling with ART Grand Prix team-mate, Victor Martins, Juan Manuel caught a train of cars in the fight for seventh.
By overtaking David Vidales in Turn One, he regained his starting position and briefly held sixth before losing ground as a result of extensive tire degradation.
Displaying an impressive defensive drive until the chequered flag, he secured the ninth position to register two points.
In Sunday’s Feature Race, Juan Manuel started from fourth on the grid but lost ground on the opening lap before the Safety Car was deployed following stoppages for Zane Maloney and Francesco Pizzi.
This promoted Juan Manuel to fifth, while a puncture for Roman Stanek on lap five’s restart pushed him forwards to fourth.
Juan Manuel then set out to catch Alexander Smolyar and overtook the MP Motorsport pilot on lap nine before losing out to Arthur Leclerc two hours later.
With his tires starting to degrade, Juan Manuel switched his attacking performance to a defensive drive to preserve fourth while also starting to experience pain in his left foot.
Gregoire Saucy overtook on lap 15 of 23, although a five-second time penalty for Franco Colapinto allowed Juan Manuel to retake fourth at the chequered flag.
“I’m a little disappointed with P4 in the Feature Race because I felt the podium was possible, but unfortunately, I had an issue with my left foot,” said Juan Manuel.
“It has been checked over now but from lap five onwards I couldn’t brake hard enough, which compromised our race performance.
“With that in mind, I’ll take P4 and the points today. The team did a great job this weekend, and we had a strong car in all sessions.
“The Sprint Race was tough because we lacked a little bit of pace for most of the race.
“After a tricky start, we were able to manage the early stops well and gain some places, but I wasn’t able to keep them because tire degradation became a factor. I had to manage them to avoid a big drop-off in performance.
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