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Crawford Scores 4th at Zandvoort

Jak Crawford #10 Hitech GP, during round six of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at Circuit Zandvoort, in The Netherlands m on sep 3-5, 2021. // SI202109040270 // Usage for editorial use only //

Best F3 points weekend with three top-10 results for young American

VANDVOORT, Netherlands (5 August 2021) – Jak Crawford enjoyed his most competitive event in FIA Formula 3 competition this weekend, scoring the best result of the year so far with a run to fourth place on his way to taking three points-paying top-10 finishes in the penultimate round of the season at Circuit Zandvoort.

The 16-year-old Texan closed the event on Sunday morning with a seventh-place finish for Hitech Grand Prix, making it the most productive weekend of his rookie season in the competitive category. Crawford had a strong Saturday, claiming fourth and eighth. The 17 points moved him up four positions to 14th in the standings with just one weekend remaining in the season.

“Not bad, I’d say,” Crawford said of the event. “I’m very happy to have scored points in all three races. It was important to get consistent points. It was good for me, driving-wise. Also we made a step for the team, but we still have a little to gain. It wasn’t a bad weekend at all.”

Crawford started off the weekend by putting the No. 10 Hitech Dallara Mecachrome atop the charts with a lap of 1:25.535-seconds in the first practice.

“Some of the quicker guys didn’t put on new tires, so we knew we weren’t the quickest,” Crawford said. “But it was still good to see me at the front, and it was a promising start to the weekend.”

Qualifying saw a remarkable jump for the Red Bull Junior Team driver. Slotted 30th and last in the field early in the session, Crawford made a one-lap leap all the way up to third. Falling to seventh in the closing minutes, he appeared to be putting together another fast lap, setting the best time in the first sector before a red flag negated that lap and ended the session. But it was still a result to build on, his second-best of the  2021 F3 campaign (best fifth at the Red Bull Ring).

“I got off a good lap and got up to third at that moment.” he said. “Unluckily, I got a red flag on my first push lap near the end. I think that would have been my best lap. It’s a shame, but I was still happy with seventh.”

Race 1 saw Crawford gridded sixth as the top 12 qualifiers were reversed. He gained two positions on the opening lap and ran fourth the rest of the way, holding off several challenges following a late-race restart.

“I had a good first lap,” Crawford said. “I got up into fourth, but after that it was a boring race, to be honest. Running in a DRS train, I never really got to defend, and never really had the chance to attack. The restarts were crazy, but once we got into a groove it was a little bit more calm. I was happy to get good points”

With the top 12 finishers from the opener reversed, Crawford started ninth for Race 2. He gained a position on a frantic start, but ran ninth and then 10th for most of the race. A late caution set up a two-lap dash to the finish, with Crawford gaining a position on each of the laps to place eighth.

“Again, I had a good first lap for Race 2,” Crawford said. “I was struggling a bit with overall grip at the beginning, and then right after a safety car I had a bit of contact on the front-left. After that I was driving with a lot of damage and I was starting to fall back. Miraculously, I finished eighth despite running far off the pace, so I was happy to establish the points even with the contact.”

Running three 24-lap races on the tight 2.646-mile, 14-turn circuit was a big challenge, but after starting eighth in the final race of the weekend Crawford survived slight contact on the opening lap but was able to rebound to come home seventh at the flag.

“I had a good start but then I had contact at Turn 3, which lost me a position,” he said. “We had a lot of oversteer, and I had to fight it a lot. It was quite a demanding track this weekend. But I still defended well, and I’m happy to get good points, as well.”

Only one weekend remains in F3 competition. The season was originally set to end at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas in Crawford’s home state in October, although the FIA announced on Saturday that the finale will be held on Sept. 24-26 at Sochi in Russia.

“I’m a bit disappointed [not to race at COTA], but at the end of the day, it isn’t my choice,” he said. “It’s sad I don’t get to race in my home state in front of my family and friends, but I get to race in Russia instead. I’ve never been there before, and I haven’t gone into it too much yet. I’m looking forward to it, and it should be fun.”

Crawford returns to Eurofomula Open competition this weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

“It’s shaping up to be a very promising weekend,” said Crawford, who currently is fifth in the standings despite missing five races (two due to age restrictions). “It is a good team and it is one of my favorite tracks so hopefully we can have a big weekend.”

Crawford will be looking to add to his achievements in his first year of Euroformula Open for Team Motopark, which include two victories, two poles, three podium finishes and four fastest race laps.


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