Juan Manuel Correa soars to first Formula 3 podium at Zandvoort
Juan Manuel Correa battled to a podium performance at the Circuit Zandvoort to score his first top-three finish in Formula 3 at the Dutch circuit.
The American-Ecuadorian driver entered the penultimate weekend of the 2022 season off the back of a challenging weekend in Belgium, where a puncture ruled him out of victory contention.
With renewed optimism, Correa made the most of a shortened qualifying session to secure 12th and therefore, reverse grid pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race.
He capitalised upon his strong starting position from the outset and quickly settled into a rhythm at the head of the field after maintaining his lead into Turn One.
Facing mounting pressure from behind in the shape of MP Motorsport’s Caio Collet, Correa expertly defended first position from the Brazilian who launched an early attack at the start of lap four.
With the advantage of DRS, Collet took the lead on lap five although Correa quickly regrouped to maintain a competitive second place.
By holding second for the remainder of the 21-lap race, the 23-year-old secured the runner-up spot at the chequered flag to score his first podium in Formula 3.
“I’m so, so happy,” said Correa. “We had a great start and a great first lap, but [Caio] Collet had a bit more pace than us so it was impossible to keep him behind.
“I had to settle for second and then control the race because it was not easy. There was a lot of tyre degradation, and the race was physically challenging for a lot of drivers.
“I’m happy to get my first podium since the accident and I’m quite emotional. This result means a lot to me.”
Unfortunately, in the Feature Race, Correa failed to match the highs of his Sprint and, after flirting with the top 10 in the early stages, struggled for pace in the second half of the 26-lap affair.
By securing a clean getaway he maintained 12th at the start but slipped to 13th after an early Safety Car on lap four following a collision between Brad Benavides and William Alatolo.
A second Safety Car late in the race offered a fresh opportunity. However, contact with Rafael Villagomez on lap 21’s restart impacted his aspirations of another top 10 finish, with a post-race penalty relegating Correa to 24th.
Ahead of Formula 3’s 2022 finale at Monza, Correa holds 12th in the Drivers’ Championship with 39 points.