Sam Abay picked up a brace of fifth-place finishes on the final weekend of the British F3 International Series season at Donington Park.
The Australian had been right on the pace during testing at the new home of the British Grand Prix and after qualifying sixth for the opening race, he had to settle for ninth on the grid for race two after rain hit the qualifying session.
A solid start in race one saw the Carlin man maintain his sixth place off the line, tucking in behind Nick Tandy at turn one. By lap two, he had found a way past and settled into fifth behind debutant Dean Smith.
Despite being glued to the back of the Fortec Dallara throughout the race, Abay was unable to find a way past and had to settle for fifth place, less than half a second behind the debutant.
An aggressive start in race two saw Abay move past National Class pair Steven Guerrero and Jay Bridger and up into seventh by the end of lap one, latching onto the back of Marcus Ericsson. By lap six, Abay was past the Swede and having inherited another position when Brendon Hartley was forced to pit, Abay set his sights on passing pole sitter Oliver Oakes for fourth.
Abay was soon past Oakes and closing on Sergio Perez. A fierce and riveting battle developed between the Australian youngster and the Mexican for the final spot on the podium, until, with three laps remaining a braking error into turn one, allowed Smith past and left Abay with a second fifth place of the weekend.
"I would have loved that final spot on the podium today, but enjoyed a great battle with Sergio,” he said. “I've learnt a huge amount this year, in what has been a very exiting season and I'd like to sincerely thank my backers and team for their tremendous support."