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Christian Mansell Scores Magical Monaco Formula 3 Podium

Christian Mansell stood on the podium at the Principality in front of the Monaco Grand Prix crowds after a scintillating performance in the latest FIA Formula 3 Championship event this past weekend (25/26 May).


The Aussie youngster started from the front row of the grid after an exceptional qualifying result in the south of France, backing it up with a fighting display on Sunday to claim a second podium finish of the campaign.


Fresh from a hectic third event of the season at Imola just a week prior, the Australian from Newcastle, New South Wales, was swiftly back in action on the famous streets of Monte Carlo with a fire in his belly to hit back in round four.


With backing from AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers, Sargeant Transport and Ultimate Driving Tours, three-time FIA F3 podium finisher Mansell showed what was potentially in his locker during free practice on Thursday.


The session was held in difficult conditions, both wet and dry. Sixth in the final times was a promising end result, and the ART GP driver then set his sights towards a strong qualifying on Friday morning - a session that would be crucial with the circuit being almost impossible to overtake on in race conditions.


Qualifying was split into two groups to limit the problems of traffic on hot laps. Mansell's #23 car was part of group two, and he shone with an exceptional lap at the midway stage to snatch pole position in the group with a time of 1m24.921s - a feat confirmed when red flags ended the session much to the Aussie's delight.


A front row spot was therefore confirmed for the feature race, while the reversed top 12 grid format meant he started Saturday morning's sprint encounter from P11. The Rush Performance, Infinity Sports Management, IOR Petroleum, AMSL Diabetes Australia and NTI-backed star was out of luck unfortunately as he was swiped by Arvid Lindblad heading into Casino corner on lap one and then collected by Alex Dunne to result in a rare non-finish.

Sunday morning brought a new opportunity however and, with a repaired ART GP machine at his disposal, Mansell lined up in second spot on the grid in front of the F1 crowds.


A strong start almost drew him ahead of pole man Gabriele Mini as the field thundered into St Devote for the first time, Mansell slotting himself into second as he chased the leader hard in the first half of the contest. Safety cars and tyre degradation were obstacles late on, but the former GB3 race winner kept up the pressure as he took the chequered flag to celebrate a brilliant second place finish.


Christian Mansell: "A mega weekend for us. To first show what we're made of with the fastest time in our group on Friday and then to get on the podium - I'm delighted with it and can only thank the team for all their hard work.


"The car was hooked up all weekend, and the timing was perfect in qualifying. It felt great, and we put it together at the right time which was a great feeling at a track like this. Saturday was a big disappointment and we certainly felt that impact, so it's a credit to the team for getting us back out on the grid for Sunday.


"The start was so important. I got a really good launch and almost had a sniff at Mini into the first corner, but the barrier was arriving and we slotted in and gave chase for the rest of the race. Pace was good, and it's shown there's a lot of positive steps we've taken after Imola.


"We've had a lot of laps at Barcelona, so we can go there optimistic of good results again."

The result also moved him back up into ninth place in the Drivers' Championship, next heading to Barcelona in Spain in just under a month's time (21-23 June).


Images from Dutch Photo Agency.

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