Sean WalkinshawChipping Norton’s Sean Walkinshaw posted a hard-fought top six ‘Copa’ class result during the second round of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open Winter Series at Jerez in Spain on Saturday, 2nd March.

Marking his first competitive appearance at the track, the Team West-Tec driver began the weekend in impressive form with a strong showing in testing before going on to match the sixth place finish he achieved on his championship debut a fortnight ago.

Qualifying was unfortunately much tougher than expected, with a lack of grip hampering his chances of a top three or four starting slot, so Sean had to settle for ninth in class and 21st position overall on the grid.

Quickly moving into the top eight in the Copa battle, the 19-year-old made further gains at the wheel of his Toyota-engined Dallara F308 after a brief Safety Car period and by mid-distance he was into sixth position before being pushed back a place on lap 10.

Remaining there until three laps from the finish, the Gloucester Rugby-backed racer re-took sixth on lap 16 which he maintained to the chequered flag – also meaning he ended the outing 14th overall in the combined classification.

“Everything started well in testing and at the end of morning practice we were fourth quickest in class, so I was pretty optimistic for qualifying”, explained Sean, “We just couldn’t get the lap time together when we needed to though. We missed the window for the tyres, I then stayed out trying to improve but it didn’t help and I just lost more and more grip.

“The race was always going to be hard work from where we started, and the tyres weren’t in great shape, but we still managed to make some progress. If we’d have got the lap time together when it mattered in qualifying, the race would have been a much different story.”

Having targeted a podium result prior to the weekend, Sean was disappointed not to achieve that goal. He did though conclude his second weekend as a fully-fledged Formula 3 driver satisfied with the experience gained ahead of the main 2013 season.

“It’s been a very useful weekend in terms of gaining knowledge of the track for when we visit Jerez again in the summer”, he added, “We were really quick in practice on Friday, we know we had the pace to be higher up the grid in qualifying so we’re positive about that and looking forward to the start of the full championship in April.”

Sean’s focus now turns to the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, where he manages the eponymous Sean Walkinshaw Racing (SWR) team. He will return to the cockpit of his Formula 3 car for the start of the 2013 European F3 Open Championship on 27th/28th April at Paul Ricard HTTT in France.