Christian Mansell Bags Podium On Bruising Weekend In Monza
Australian racer Christian Mansell added podium number 14 to his increasingly impressive tally in the latest meeting of the 2022 Euroformula Open season held at Monza in Italy last weekend (24/25 September).
The 17-year-old also escaped uninjured thankfully following a dramatic roll in the second of the weekend's three races at the self-proclaimed 'Temple of Speed' after contact from another rival, one which sadly curtailed his Sunday activities earlier than intended.
Backed by AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers, VISA Global Logistics and Infinity Sports Management, Mansell entered the penultimate meeting of the season sitting in second place in the Drivers' Championship, still in with a chance of closing the gap to the top spot with six races remaining in the campaign.
Having impressed with strong pace throughout Friday testing, Mansell set his sights on a good qualifying to start the weekend on the best possible footing. In difficult greasy conditions, he duly stuck his Cryptotower-Motopark car on the front row of the grid. Wet weather persisted in the afternoon ahead of race one, making for a wet 17-lapper to contend with in which a slow start put the GB3 race winner down to third.
The BRDC Rising Star and Motorsport UK Academy talent would soon be right back on the tail of the second-placed car of Frederick Lubin, looking for a way past his rival on multiple occasions as he battled for visibility through the spray being kicked up. As the chequered flag waved, Mansell would seal third spot - podium number 14 of his first full season in the championship.
Mansell, supported by Dexcom, Rush Performance, IOR Petroleum, Locker 27, NTI Australia and AMSL Diabetes Australia, made up a place from third on the grid to second with a great start in race two the following morning. He set his sights on leader Josh Mason and made his first attack at the opening chicane under braking, briefly dropping to fourth and then charging back up to second place again with some late braking.
The three-time race winner was battling with Vlad Lomko before contact from Francesco Simonazzi at the Ascari chicane tipped his Dallara up and over through the gravel, a scary accident which Mansell thankfully emerged unscathed from.
Despite a heroic team effort to get the Motopark machine back out on track at the start of race three, it would prove futile as Mansell was forced back into the pits for safety reasons on a day where results were unrepresentative of his true performance.
Christian Mansell:"It was a difficult weekend for us but not through a lack of performance or a lack of trying from our side. Ultimately, we could have had three podiums and possibly a win or two, but we never got to find out unfortunately.
"Qualifying was a tricky one with very greasy conditions, but we did well enough to grab the front row spot and then add another podium later on in worse conditions. The spray made it tough to make a clean pass, but we chased all the way.
"The halo definitely saved me - it was one of those days where if I didn't have it then the worst could have happened, so thank you to the FIA for their work in keeping us drivers safe. Also a very big thank you to the marshals for their help in getting me out of the car and doing such a great job as always."
With just three races remaining in the 2022 Euroformula Open season, Mansell sets his sights on securing second place in the championship in the season finale at Barcelona over the weekend of 15/16 October.
Image from Euroformula Open.