Juan Manuel Correa displays promising pace during challenging Monaco weekend
Following on from Juan Manuel Correa’s best result of the Formula 2 season at another street circuit, Baku just four weeks ago, the mood in the Van Amersfoort Racing camp was optimistic ahead of one of the most prestigious weekends of the year at Monaco.
Drivers were split across two 16-minute qualifying sessions and following a ballot during the drivers’ briefing, it was determined that Correa would participate in Group B. Despite leaping to the top of the timesheets early on and hovering in P4 and P5 for much of the session, Clement Novalak’s brush with the barrier brought out the red flag and put paid to Correa’s final effort, meaning he ended the session in P7. With the results from both sessions combined, that translated into P13 on the grid for both the Sprint and Feature races.
The Sprint Race
The American-Ecuadorian racer held his nerve on the opening lap of the Sprint Race, fending off advances from behind to retain his P13 starting position. After an early safety car period, race leader Isack Hadjar dropped down the order with an engine problem elevating Correa to P12.
As is the case in Formula 1, overtaking was in short supply at Monaco for the Formula 2 contingent. Correa spent much of the race close behind Amaury Cordeel and went for a daring lunge down the hill into Turn 5; the pair made contact and Cordeel’s race ended in the barrier. Following another Safety Car period to remove the stricken Invicta Virtuosi Racing machine, he managed to keep hold of his position to finish P11 on the road, narrowly missing out on a top-ten finish. Unfortunately, Correa was handed a 10-second post-race penalty for the incident with Cordeel, dropping him to P16 in the final classification.
The Feature Race
A stellar start in the Feature Race catapulted Correa up to P11 on the opening lap. In an attempt to maintain the early momentum, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver was among the first to pit for a fresh set of boots and a gap with clean air. Much to his dismay, a dramatic crash for Jack Doohan at Massenet brought out the Safety Car meaning those ahead lost less time in the pits than in a traditional stop. Having recently pitted, that was the worst-case scenario for Correa. On the restart, he sat in P14 and he held that position until the checkered flag.
Round 6 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship gets underway at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (2-4 June).