It has been an eventful opening two days of the Round 2 event of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at the Red Bull Ring.
Friday commenced with a practice session in the morning held under fine and warm conditions. The session went very well for Calan and the team at Jenzer Motorsport returning a 1:20.8 lap on the final new tyre run of the session which was good enough for P16 of the 30 drivers.
The important qualifying session in the afternoon started well, with the team and Calan managing a good space in the field to set a flying lap on the first set of new tyres. He was comfortable on the hard Pirelli tyre which is a change from the medium used last weekend in Round 1. On his second flying lap Calan put in a strong first sector only to have the session halted by a red flag.
Jenzer and all the teams then elected to switch to the second set of new tyres for the remainder of the session and waitied until there was around 13 mins to go to start the final run.
After prepping the tyres with his 3 warm up laps Calan started his first flying lap, setting a good first sector and then following this up with a very quick 35.1 in the second sector, 6 tenths up at this point on his previous best lap time for the session. With just two corners to go to on the lap, the session was once again halted before he could complete the run.
The session was restarted with 4 mins to go, and in the time available he was unable to bring the tyres to where they needed to be to improve, with many squeezing in an additional lap prior to the flag to improve. As a result a likely qualification in the top half of the field was in the end P26.
Heavy rain was forecast for Saturday's Race, however the teams woke to fine conditions in the morning as arriving to the circuit. However, as preparing to head to the grid ominous clouds were appearing over the mountains, with the odd spit of rain.
On the grid, most were waiting until the last moment to decide whether to start on wets or the slick tyre. Whilst the majority went with wets, Jenzer gambled with slicks for Calan with him being one of 5 drivers to attempt this.
Unfortunately on the formation lap, the rain started, and quickly became heavy leaving Calan and the others on slicks no option but to pit before the start to change, and start thje race from pit lane.
After the stop, Calan rejoined in P28 and was half the straight between turns 1 and 3 behind the field. Over the first three laps he demonstrated his pace in the wet by catching the field, and setting the 6th fastest lap of the race.
The rain was torrential, and visibility was almost zero, however Calan raced exceptionally well to move up to 25th place at around half race distance. As if it wasn't difficult enough, of the cars ahead of him 3 did not have their rain lights on. This made it simply impossible to see where they were, and therefore as he caught on the back of them, an overtaking attempt extremely difficult.
In what would be the final lap of the race, Calan made up two further postions to move into P23, however race control red flagged the race on the grounds of racing being unsafe. This was the right decision as drivers were aquaplaning on top of the water surface making it extremely difficult to maintain control of the car.
Due to the regulations, when a race is red flagged, the results are based on the last completed lap, and as such the final two positions he gained are not included leaving him in P25, and starting from this position for tomorrow's race 2.
"It was the wettest race I have ever been in," said Calan.
"From the start it was quite wet, but as the rain went on the amount of water kept building up. Due to the extreme lack of visibility and grip it was difficult to move up, but I was still pleased to move up from my starting position having needed to do so from pit lane."
Race 2 tomorrow is expected to be dry conditions once again.