Multi championship winning racing outfit, Fortec Motorsports, made a welcome return to top-level Formula 3 racing in Europe this weekend by joining the 26th edition of the Zandvoort Masters of Formula 3.The annual event at the Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands saw the Daventry based squad field a pair of Dallara-Mercedes for BRDC Rising Stars program member, Sam MacLeod and Australian F3 champion, Ricky Capo.Free practice commenced on Friday with all 16 drivers on the entry list taking to the track in warm, dry conditions. The Masters of F3 traditionally attracts Formula 3 drivers from around the globe and to add to the spectacle in 2016, Kumho Tyres created a compound specifically for the annual event. Both MacLeod and Capo took their time to adjust to their new team, cars and tyres, with the Briton making the top ten in second practice in the afternoon.With the Fortec pair qualifying in P13 and P14 on Saturday morning, MacLeod and Capo lined up side by side on the seventh row of the grid for the start of race one. Both drivers got away smoothly when the lights went out, MacLeod immediately worrying the gearbox of Harrison Scott (Hitech GP) ahead. Unfortunately, on lap eight of the 12 lap contest, MacLeod rode a curb that cost him right rear wishbone damage and a disappointing retirement from the race. Ricky Capo drove an immaculate contest to bring his #18 Fortec charger home in a respectable thirteenth place.Continued fine weather and the busy schedule of GT and F3 action brought in the crowds to Circuit Park Zandvoort on Sunday for the finale. The main race for the Masters of F3 event commenced at 15:00 and the 25-lap spectacle around the 4,307 metres long circuit did not disappoint. With starting grid positions determined by race one results, Capo and MacLeod lined up on row seven in thirteenth and fourteenth respectively. There was no shortage of battles throughout the field for the duration of the race, with MacLeod making two stunning outside manoeuvres stick to take P9. He took the chequered flag chasing Alessio Lorandi in the fastest Carlin Racing car, with Capo crossing the line in fourteenth place. Jamie Dye, Fortec Motorsports F3 Team:"A top ten finish in our return to European F3 is what we had hoped for; it was a shame that Sam [MacLeod] was unable to finish race one, but ultimately the team has had an encouraging weekend. It was good to see Sam return to competition and ease himself back in to the programme, with Ricky [Capo] making a solid debut in European racing.”
Sam MacLeod, #17 Fortec Motorsports:“I am pleased with the outcome of the weekend; it has been great to work with the Fortec Motorsports team and I look forward to doing more racing and further testing at the end of the year in preparation for Macau.”Ricky Capo, #18 Fortec Motorsports: “I knew it was going to be a tough weekend, but I am happy to have finished both races. My first weekend of European racing amongst these guys showed that the competition is tough and I have a lot to learn. I would like to thank Fortec Motorsports for the opportunity and let's see what the future brings.”Fortec Motorsports is aiming to enter two cars for the FIA European F3 series finale at Hockenheim in October and is continuing with its preparations for the end-of-season, 63rd Macau Grand Prix on 17-20 November, 2016.