Two wins, 3 fastest laps, pole in EFO outing
SPIELBERG, Austria – (12 September 2021) – Red Bull Junior team driver Jak Crawford scored an emotional victory for the Stars and Stripes on 9-11 Saturday, leading all the way to win the opening Euroformula Open race at Red Bull Ring.
After finishing fifth in the morning round with an inverted grid, the 16-year-old Texan finished the weekend by leading all the way in winning Sunday’s final race. He won his fourth pole in as many attempts in addition to running the fastest race lap in all three events, and made three podium visits, including being the top rookie in the second race.
“This was a good one for America,” Crawford said from victory circle after his Saturday triumph. “Obviously, 20 years ago was a tragic event, so this was a good one for my country, and for myself as well.”
“It was quite a good weekend, obviously,” Crawford summed up. “Two race wins, the pole and three fastest race laps is pretty good. I’m happy with the weekend. We had the best speed, and the most points as well.”
Crawford showed why Red Bull Ring is one of his favorite tracks from the beginning of the weekend. He dominated Friday’s practice, only to lose fast time in the closing minutes by 0.358-seconds. In Saturday morning’s qualifying, he set fast time several times, only to be knocked off the pole three times. But each time he came back with an even faster lap, finally capturing pole position with a lap of 1:22.093-seconds.
“I’m happy to be on pole,” Crawford said after qualifying. “It wasn’t easy; times are always really close at the Red Bull Ring since there aren’t that many corners.I made a mistake on my last lap, which I probably could have had another tenth or so. But still happy with the pole.”
The opening race saw Crawford get off to a 0.9-second lead on lap one, eventually building up to a whopping 6.911-second gap on the field.
“Race 1 was pretty dominant It was an easier one today, because I didn’t have much pressure, but I’m excited about the victory.”
The top six finishers were inverted for Sunday morning’s second race, putting Crawford sixth on the grid. He gained two positions on the opening lap with a pair of passes, and then bided his time in fourth – setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 11. He slipped up and lost two positions on lap 14, although he gained one back on the following lap and finished fifth.
“Race 2 was a bit unfortunate, because I had a few incidents,” he said. “It was a difficult one, being very difficult to overtake. I got up to fourth and held that position, but then I got attacked from behind while being stuck behind a train of cars in front of me. We had the speed to win – and got the fastest lap – but it was difficult to overtake.”
Sunday afternoon was a repeat of race one. Crawford started on the pole by virtue of setting the fastest lap in race two. He led by 1.2-seconds after the opening lap, set fastest race lap four times and gapped Team Motopark teammate and point leader Cameron Das by 4.602-seconds.
“It was a fun race,” Crawford said. “I had a good start and they were battling behind me, so I got a quite comfortable lead. After that, I was trying to be as consistent as possible with no mistakes while managing the gap. Quite an easy one. I’m happy with the win, and the points as well.”
Crawford managed to gain ground with the solid weekend to gain on the leaders from third position. However, he will miss the penultimate round of the campaign at Monza due to an FIA Formula 3 conflict with the new season finale at Sochi in Russia.
“I’m not going to race Monza, which is a bit unfortunate,” he said. “I think the championship is a bit out of reach unless something crazy happens. But we do get to race in Sochi, which will be the first time for me – the first time for nearly everyone. So the playing ground will be a bit more even, and I’m looking forward to another good weekend like Zandvoort, with all three races in the points.”
The Euroformula Open season ends at Barcelona on Oct. 22-24.
“I’ve driven there quite a bit, and it’s one of my favorite tracks in the world,” Crawford said. “I’m looking to get some good results there.”
Images via Red Bull
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