The long wait and the anticipation ended this past weekend for American/Ecuadorian racer Juan Manuel Correa. Returning to the track at Montmeló Circuit in Barcelona for the first weekend in the FIA F3 Championship with ART GP, Correa improved throughout the race weekend earning a point scoring position in race two on Saturday afternoon as well as a trio of top-fifteen results for himself and his partners.
“So overall we had a very positive day on Friday. Obviously, I would have loved to be inside the top-twelve target after qualifying to take advantage of the reverse grid starting position for tomorrow, but we just missed out on that,” explained Correa. “The positives from that session were that I improved on all three sets of tires, I kind of put a complete lap together but not exactly 100% of that way I would have liked, and that we were only a couple of tenths away from the top-five. There is more than a couple of tenths where I can improve in driving and the car setup and we see that in the data. Positive qualifying session though and now we turn our focus to the race tomorrow with the target to finish inside the top-twelve to then get the reverse grid for race two and see if we can score some more points. A bit of an emotional day for me and mixed feelings but very positive.”
After qualifying thirteenth and finishing fifteenth in race one, Correa’s emotional return came more to fruition in race two when he climbed from his fifteenth place starting position to finish tenth and score a single point in his return weekend. Steering clear of on track incidents, taking advantage of situations and showing improved race pace yet again, the Step One Automotive Group driver climbed five positions to earn his first top-ten result and points of the 2021 season.
Returning to the track on Sunday and once again forced to start on the inside of row eight, Correa advanced forward to the twelfth position before eventually finishing in fourteenth. Completing his goals for the weekend, Correa gained experience while completing each and every race lap over the course of the weekend
“The race today was a little bit disappointing for me personally as I was hoping to have a little better race pace and to be able to stay with the pack to fight for a top-ten finish,” added Correa. “Unfortunately, that was not the case as I dropped back a little bit but not too bad. I was able to fend off the drivers from behind late in the race and at that time, the pace was similar to the drivers inside the top-five which was a positive. As a weekend in general, there were more positives than negatives, but we identified a few things that I need to work on. I achieved many of the objectives I set at the beginning of the weekend by competing all race laps, building experience and gaining knowledge of this race car which was great. I was hoping for more points, but the series is so competitive and that gives me even more motivation for the next rounds. As a driver you always want more but it was a good first step. Now we have a test this week where we will be able to try and fix and polish some of the rough points from this weekend and do more laps which is the main thing that I really need right now. After that, we will prepare for the next event at Paul Ricard.
Following this week’s test, Juan Manuel Correa will prepare for the next stop for the FIA F3 Championship will be June 24 – 26 in Le Castellet, France.
JM Correa would like to thank all his marketing partners for their continued support including Step One Automotive Group, NOE Sushi Bar, Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, The Salty, Revolution 93.5 as well as his race team, ART GP.
For more information on Step One Automotive Group please visit them online at www.StepOneAutomotiveGroup.com. For more information at Juan Manuel Correa, please visit him online at www.JMCorrea.com or visit him on any of his social media channels.
Raffaella Fant – Sponsor Representative – rfant@StepOneAuto.com
Mike Maurini – Media Manager – Mike@RTD-Media.com
Photos: Joan Codina – fotoformulak.com