Stenshorne delivers fighting drive in Imola Feature Race


Martinius Stenshorne delivered a fine drive in in his Hitech Pulse-Eight in today’s FIA Formula 3 Feature Race at Imola. The young Norwegian, who was announced as part of the McLaren Driver Development programme earlier in the weekend, finished tenth on track, cutting through the field from 17th on the grid with a series of bold overtakes and cleverly managing his tyre wear.

Unfortunately a post-race penalty dropped him back to 14th overall, but it did not detract from a spirited outing at the fast, technical Italian circuit.

The result redeemed a difficult weekend for Martinius. Qualifying on Friday delivered P16 on the grid, however a false start in Saturday’s Sprint race – which then led to a stall as he tried to grab the car back – compromised the race from the beginning. Five separate safety car periods caused by incidents further up the field then hampered his progress. Martinius finished 19th on track, but a five second penalty for the earlier jump start dropped him back to 22nd overall.

Lining up P17 in the Hitech for Sunday’s Feature Race, Martinius was looking for a clean race to demonstrate his racecraft. Moving into 15th on lap one, he was caught in a nose to tail battle with Gabriele Mini, Christian Mansell, Nikita Bedrin and Matias Zagazeta. Martinius moved past Bedrin on lap 7 with an overtake on Mansell – who had himself graduated into 12th – on lap 11. Tim Tramnitz became the next target with both taking Noel Leon in the battle for the points. On lap 14 Martinius made his move and took Tramnitz for tenth and the final points scoring position. Dutchman Laurens Van Hoepen was next on the road, with Martinius making inroads to close the gap and ultimately get past on lap 15.

With tyre wear now starting to bite for many drivers, focus switched to tyre management for the remaining time of the 22 lap Feature Race. Martinius closed to within 1.5secs of eighth-placed Arvid Lindblad, however lost one place to Mari Boya on the penultimate lap to finish tenth on track, seven positions up on his grid slot.

Unfortunately for Martinius a penalty given post-race demoted him back to 14th however it did not detract from a fighting, spirited performance.

The next round of the championship will be in just one week’s time, supporting the Monaco Grand Prix.

Martinius Stenshorne: “This weekend didn’t quite come together in the way we hoped, but there are positives. The Feature Race was good fun and I was able to make a lot of moves to improve on the starting position. I also had to look after the tyres in the end of the race as the wear was quite high. It was a shame after all the action not to take away any points, but I am pleased I at least got to do some racing after the interrupted Sprint.

“Next weekend we go to Monaco and I’m really looking forward to that. I haven’t done a lot of street racing, but to race around Monte Carlo will be a special feeling, especially as part of the McLaren Driver Development Programme. I will keep focussed and hope we can get some more points on the board there.”