GELAEL JUST A SECOND AWAY AS FORMULA 3 SEASON DAWNS

Barcelona, 9th March 2013 - The adventure has begun for Sean Gelael! The FIA Formula 3 European Championship has had its first two-day test session of the season, and for the 16-year-old Indonesian it was his first opportunity to see how he compares with the competition.

The answer is: pretty good. Gelael had no prior experience of the world-class Circuit de Catalunya, host of the Spanish Grand Prix. His final position of 21st on the second day was a thoroughly decent effort. Over a one-minute 40-second lap, he was just 1.134 seconds adrift of fastest man Will Buller. This is about the time it takes for a quick breath and, while Sean is a raw novice,Buller is starting his fourth season in Formula 3, and sixth in major European formula racing!

So that is why Gelael has drawn encouragement from the test, after just a couple of previous private test runs in his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes. He did well to be a race winner in Formula Pilota China last year, but competition in Europe is white-hot and F3 is the most intense of them all, with a host of experienced drivers.

“It was not bad,” said Gelael, who did more than 150 laps across the two days. “I needed to learn the track on the first day and that meant I was taking a lot of life out of the tyres doing that.”

Such a problem is normal for newcomers to F3. All drivers are restricted on the number of sets of tyres they can use, in order to save costs, and each set has just a few laps of peak performance before they gradually fade.

“On the second morning I had an old set of tyres on,” continued Sean. “I was running in the top eight so that was very encouraging. Then I put a new set on, and another new set, and my times were getting better and better. I really hoped to get an even quicker lap but then I had a brake problem.

“In the afternoon I tried another run on old tyres, which was very good. We were in the top half of the field.”

Sean’s next outing with the Double R team is the two-day test at Monza on 18th and 19th March, before the first round of the championship takes place at the same track – on which the Italian Grand Prix is held – on 22nd-24th March.

“I am really looking forward to Monza,” he said. “We will work really hard to get as prepared as we possibly can.”

Gelael’s manager, renowned motorsport talent-spotter Piers Hunnisett, added: “For Sean’s first official test, he did a very good job. He improved his driving throughout the two days. It is so competitive in Europe – just a second covered the fastest 21 drivers! It is going to be a really good year and Sean has every reason to look forward to Monza confident of improving further.” (Piers Hannisett from Barcelona)

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