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Christian Mansell Returns To FIA F3 Action With Battling Imola Weekend

Christian Mansell was hampered by safety cars and tyre degradation in a challenging third 2024 FIA Formula 3 Championship meeting at Imola in front of the F1 crowds this past weekend (17-19 May).

The Australian talent from Newcastle, New South Wales, arrived in San Marino after a long break of almost two months for the latest FIA F3 double header, holding a strong top-eight position in the Drivers' Championship with silverware already to his name.

Mansell, backed by AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers, Sargeant Transport and Ultimate Driving Tours, showed promising pace when he ventured out onto the historic Imola circuit for the first time on Friday morning, running inside the top five for much of the day's free practice session.

The ART Grand Prix driver turned his focus towards a strong result in the afternoon's important qualifying session. It proved to be a tight session with the field spread by small margins, Mansell having to settle for 16th place after not finding his car in the right window of ultimate performance.

The following morning was Mansell's first chance to fight for points, lining up 14th on the grid for the 18-lap sprint race. What followed was a chaotic and truncated race for those around the Australian, who evaded trouble around four safety car interruptions and rose to 12th place.

The feature race on Sunday was his second opportunity to impress, and the Rush Performance, Infinity Sports Management, IOR Petroleum, AMSL Diabetes Australia and NTI-backed driver had his eyes firmly set on forward momentum from mid-grid in San Marino.

The race that followed was largely controlled by a narrative of tyre degradation. For Mansell and his ART GP team, tyre performance fell away in the second half of the race, meaning the Bahrain podium finisher was left falling to a very unrepresentative 20th place by the finish.

Christian Mansell: "It turned out to be a bit of a frustrating weekend for us at Imola. We were showing good pace early on in testing and in free practice, so we knew that we had something to go by for the weekend.

"Unfortunately we didn't quite get the car in the window we needed during qualifying which meant that we missed out on the top 10. Otherwise, it could have been a different story!

"The first race was very disappointing as we didn't really get a chance to make progress with the number of safety cars that took place. We still went forward though which was a positive sign even in the situation. Race two was not the best day in the office; we didn’t have much pace compared the the days before and tyres began to struggle early on.

"We've just got to keep focused for Monaco. I'm really looking forward to racing around the streets already."

Mansell is straight back into action this weekend as the FIA Formula 3 Championship heads to the famous streets of Monaco for the latest two races (23-26 May).

Image from Dutch Photo Agency.


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