EF Open: Vaidyanathan ends 2017 with two podiums, Reddy has tough Barcelona run
The season-finale of the 2017 Euroformula Open started at Barcelona with Carlin’s Ameya Vaidyanathan finishing fourth in both the practice sessions on Friday.
Fellow countryman Tarun Reddy was 18th and 14th, while he finished as the 11th and 10th best rookie respectively, in the Drivex machinery.
A close first qualifying saw Vaidyanathan finish sixth for Race 1, a mere 0.572s off from pole-sitter RP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich.
Drivex’s Nikita Troitskiy was second and Carlin’s Devlin Defrancesco third. Reddy, meanwhile, finished down in 16th and was the ninth best rookie.
The Qualifying 2 saw Vaidyanathan claim his maiden pole for the final race of the season, beating Drugovich and Troitsky in the process.
The Indian on his final lap went a mere 0.025s and 0.040s quicker respectively to finish on the top. On the other hand, Reddy was 19th overall and 11th best rookie.
It was a solid start from Vaidyanathan from fifth on the grid, due to a penalty to RP Motorsport’s Aleks Karkosik – the Indian was already up to third in the opening lap.
Running behind teammate Defrancesco, he came under pressure from Troitskiy, who had lost a couple of positions off the line.
However, Vaidyanathan was able to fend him, gaining another position after leader Drugovich had an off-moment just when the safety car was pulled out.
Once the race re-started, Vaidyanathan had a look at Defrancesco for the lead while also defending his position, but the Canadian held his line and built enough gap to take his maiden win.
For the Indian, it was his first podium since Paul Ricard, as Karkosik cleared Jannes Fittje and Troitskiy to claim the final podium position.
Meanwhile, it was a short-lived race for Reddy, who had a collision with Ben Hingeley in the opening lap at Turn 4 – with both retiring immediately.
It was a difficult start for Vaidyanathan from pole position, who lost three places in the first corner, but managed to gain through BVM Racing's Joey Mawson to be third at the end of Lap 1.
For the Indian, it was then hanging at the back of Drugovich and Troitskiy ahead, while also keeping his car ahead of Mawson and Defrancesco.
Even though Vaidyanathan couldn't get close to winner Drugovich and second-placed Troitskiy, the Indian had enough to build on a good gap between him and Mawson.
It was his second podium of the weekend - making it four in the season to go with a win, ending up fourth in the drivers' standings with 168 points, four behind Defrancesco.
For Reddy, it was another tough outing. The Indian gained a position off the line, but then had teammate Christian Hahn to battle through.
Unfortunately, the two came into contact at Turn 5. A pit stop later on had Reddy fall a lap down, but with the problems persisting, the Indian retired eventually.
It capped off a dismal weekend which saw double retirements, as he finished 14th in the drivers' standings with 27 points. He was eighth best rookie with 17 points.