Sam Abay enjoyed one of his strongest weekends to date in the British F3 International Series at Spa, although an incident on the opening lap of race meant his trip to Belgium ended in disappointing fashion.
The Carlin rookie has qualified well at the challenging Grand Prix venue to put his Dallara fourth on the grid for race one and third on the grid for race two.
Having been bottled up when the lights went out, Abay slipped to sixth at the start of race one behind Marcus Ericcson and Sergio Perez. However, by the end of lap one Abay had pushed his way back past Perez and was planning his attack on Ericsson. By the end of lap two the Australian youngster had sliced past the Swede and back into fourth place, closing on the back of championship leader Jaime Alguersuari in a battle for third.
That battle between the Carlin duo would continue for the remaining ten laps, but with Abay unable find a way past the Spaniard, he took the flag in fourth.
Unfortunately for Abay, he was involved in contact with Ericsson at turn one at the start of race two which left him with a puncture and a slow return to the pits for a new tyre. As a result, he could only take the flag as the last of the classified runners – despite setting the second quickest lap of the race.
"It was obviously disappointing to have blotted my copybook in race two, but I feel we've taken another important step forward this weekend,” he said. “We've quite comfortably been towards the front all weekend and had a particularly good chance to deliver a great result in race two."