Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Championship leader Sacha Fenestraz was delighted with his FIA European F3 debut at the Nürburgring this weekend (8-10 September).
The French-Argentinian driver showed explosive pace and maturity to qualify in fourth and end up with a Top 10 finish during his first competitive stint in an F3 car.
And the ever-smiling 18-year-old proved what an exciting future he has in the sport as he made the step-up with ease – improving every time he got behind the wheel.
The talented teen took time-out from the FR2.0 Eurocup to team up with current leaders Carlin for a one-off round as he explores his options for 2018.
But despite an impressive performance, he is already re-focusing his attention onto his title-winning ambitions.
The ADD Motorsports-supported racer said: “I loved the car and the experience, it was amazing. There was so much to take in in such a short amount of time, but I learnt so much.
“To qualify fourth in my first competitive weekend in an F3 car was great. I came in and the engineer said I was P4 and I thought he said P14, so it was a really nice surprise to find out how well I’d done!
“To be in that position I was a little disappointed not to finish higher in the first race.
“But I felt as though I was improving every time I stepped into the car. It’s given me a real taste of where I could be driving next season."
Top: Sacha Fenestraz makes impressive FIA European F3 debut
Bottom: Sacha is all smiles as he relaxes with his new teammates at the Nürburgring
Photo Credit: James Gasperotti Photography
Sacha joined Carlin’s existing four-car line-up, taking his place alongside Lando Norris, Jehan Daruvala, Ferdinand Habsburg and Ameya Vaidyanathan - at a circuit where he set a new Formula Renault Eurocup track record during pre-season collective tests in March and took a win in the Championship in July.
He took little time to settle in, adapting to his new team and car quickly in practice and showing some good pace early on.
But he amazed everyone when he finish P4 in qualifying in the wet – giving a real glimpse of what he could do in the future with more time and experience behind the wheel.
He got off to a good start in his first F3 race, but with so much spray from the rain made contact with another driver. It left him needing a pit stop and saw him given a drive-through penalty. He came out fighting, showing great maturity and pace to overtake a number of cars and finish P15.
The young driver showed great pace once again to finish P13 in the next qualifying session. But Sacha lost his position at the start of the second race when he was forced onto a chicane, finding himself in P20 early on. However, he then showed great maturity to recover well, taking on a number of drivers to finish in P13.
Sacha Fenestraz: "I loved the car and the experience, it was amazing. There was so much to take in in such a short amount of time, but I learnt so much."
Determined to take on board everything he was taught, he started slower in the final race as he aimed for an incident-free drive, losing a few places in the process. But after finding himself behind a slower driver, he finally found a way to take him on and moved up a number of places, finishing strongly in P10 at the end.
Now the driver returns to his FR2.0 Eurocup title-challenge, with the penultimate round just around the corner at Spa. He currently sits on top of the Championship with four wins to his name – and just two rounds left.
He added: “I felt as though I was improving quite a lot race-on-race. In general it was a good weekend and to finish Top 10 on my debut was great.
Carlin were amazing to work with and so professional. I felt as though I took on so much information from them. But after enjoying this experience I know I need to re-focus straight away - as my main goal right now is winning the title.”