So it was off to Donington Park for the 3rd of 4 events this summer for Formula Gulf Academy graduates Omar Gazzaz (KSA) and Cato Poulsen (DEN).
With nearly 4 hours of track time available on the test day there was ample time to learn the famous forma Grand Prix circuit. While car setup is fixed for the Formula Gulf Academy in the UAE, its free to be adjusted for the UK program. So after some fine tuning to suspension and aero setup the guys were happy and started to put in some consistent fast laps, hopefully giving them the edge in qualifying as most of their rivals were absent for this Thursday test.
With 27 cars on the grid the big challenge for qualifying would just being finding a gap to put together that perfect lap. Cato managed to find that space and put in a fantastic P1 in class and 3rd overall with a time of 1:32.329. Omar however struggled to find that space and managed P6.
In race 1 later that day however Cato made a poor start giving himself extra work to do. Omar got off the line well and headed into Redgate and the Craner Curves with the front of the pack. As the laps rolled past Omar was holding strong in 5th, but Cato was charging up at great pace. Approaching the last couple of laps Cato had caught to the leading group. Making good use of the back markers he slipped through to take a well deserved 3rd and Omar remaining in 6th. However both drivers were looking for more for race 2 to come the following day.
Being a double header race meetingsecond qualifying kicked off the day two at Donington. Unfortunately Cato suffered an engine issue and with no time to affect an engine chance it would unfortunately take him out of the running for the day. Omar again in busy traffic pulled a time only good enough to take him to 7th for for the start of race 2.
As the race got underway Omar was able to avoid a start line shunt taking out 2 cars, but knew he had his work cut out to pass the Formula Jedi cars in his class that were super light and therefore quicker in a straight line. However towards the end of the race and approaching back markers Omar was able to make his move, taking 4 places around the outside of Craner Curves into the Old Hairpin (video to follow). With the leaders tangling on the last lap taking out second place runner, Omar took a well deserved 3rd.
The last event of the summer will be on the full GP circuit at Silverstone in September. Then its back to the UAE for the start of the 6th Formula Gulf Academy season that kicks off with 2 days of testing at the fantastic Yas Marina GP circuit.