Tveter Is Just Two Spots Out of the Points
In FIA Formula 3 European Series Race Sunday
PORTIMAO, Portugal, Sept. 7 —Rookie Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. recorded a 12th-place finish Sunday morning at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve to highlight his first visit to that 4.653-kilometer, 18-turn road course near the southern coast of Portugal.
It was the first time this track has hosted a FIA Formula 3 European Championship tripleheader and the course ended up being slightly longer, as a chicane was added near Turn 1 to help slow down some over-eager young racers. With very little or no previous experience here, quickly rising track temperatures and shifting winds, it was challenging for teams to arrive at an ideal set-up. The series features very close competition and the track is very technical, so even the smallest advantage or disadvantage was reflected in the results.
Tveter started 13th on Sunday but he was as high as 11th in the early going due to attrition ahead of him. He lost two spots following a restart on lap four of what turned out to be a 20-lap race run in the allotted 35 minutes when Nick Cassidy and Santino Ferrucci got around him. He zeroed in on repassing Cassidy after that restart, but two laps later Cassidy moved ahead and Tveter spent the rest of the race behind Callum Ilott.
There were no more yellow flags to close up the field, but Tveter advanced to 12th when Ferrucci dropped back on lap 16. Tveter’s #26, which is fielded by Jagonya Ayam! with Carlin, was 1.5 seconds behind Ilott at the checkered, just two positions out of the points. The driver who finished 13th, Alexander Sims, was about the same distance, 1.734 seconds, behind Tveter.
The 21-year-old Tveter didn't fare as well in the other two races on Saturday, although once again he avoided getting involved in any accidents and completed the full distance.
He started 19th in Saturday morning’s race and finished 23rd. There wasn’t much passing in that race and the field got very strung out. The start was hairy when the driver two rows ahead of Tveter, Dorian Boccolacci, stalled, but Tveter was able to miss him. Cassidy's car also stalled later in that race, but Tveter was able to avoid him too.
Tveter started 13th in Saturday afternoon’s race, but lost two positions to Max Gunther and Sergio Sette Camara at the always-hectic start before a full-course caution waved working lap two for an incident between Matt Rao and Raoul Hyman.
Polesitter and eventual winner Felix Rosenqvist set a very slow pace for the restart on lap four. Sette Camara was able to move up, which put Ilott ahead of Tveter. He remained in 15th position until lap seven, but then he lost six positions when Sims pushed him into the gravel on the exit of Turn 3. With the track's rising temperatures affecting his car’s tires and set-up adversely Tveter wasn't able to regain any of those positions in the time left, but he still held on and finished the race.
"The weekend had its challenges, but every opportunity to gain experience is good. That's what this year is about," Tveter said afterwards. "As a team we didn't get anywhere near the speed or results we were looking for, but there was a lot to learn since it was our first outing at Portimao.
"The circuit is difficult, with a very interesting combination of corners, straights and elevation changes," he added. "We were contending with shifting high winds and variable temperatures as well.
"Overall, I felt great about closing the gap so much between collective testing earlier in the week and FP2, but I was especially happy to narrow the gap so much in qualifying. It was incredibly tight — just .005 between me and the guys around me — so managing to tighten the gap to the pole by another two-tenths just between Q1 and Q2 was great.
"I had terrific pace in the corners; that helped a lot. Just looking forward to the next round at Nurburgring now."
The series’ 2015 season concludes with two tripleheaders in Germany. The first one is Sept. 25-27 at the Nurburgring, and the finale is Oct. 16-18 at Hockenheim.
Fans can follow Tveter through his Web site at RyanTveter.com, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. The team's Web site is at Carlin.co.uk and the series' Web site is at FIAF3Europe.com. Video of all the races is available on You Tube.