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Josh Dufek in his number 28 AIX Racing car at Monaco

Fresh from his strong performance at Imola a few days ago, Josh Dufek was back behind the wheel on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend. Rising to the challenge and rallying through misfortune and mayhem, the Austrian racer certainly showcased his maturity and skill against the 30-strong Formula 3 field.

Widely regarded as the jewel in the motorsport crown, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated weekends in motorsport. Providing drivers with a tough challenge, the infamous streets feature narrow straights and tight, twisty turns which allow no room for error. It can trip up even the most experienced racers.

Benefit of Experience

Having experienced the uniqueness of racing at the historic circuit earlier in his junior career, Josh had the benefit of understanding the challenge ahead of him as he head out on track early on Thursday morning. Taking to the track as soon as it turned green, he was eager to make his laps count and gain as much reference from his F3 car as possible.

Running 6th on the road he immediately got to work and showcased his raw talent by setting the fastest sector 2 on the opening lap - one of the sections that proves to be the hardest on the calendar to master. However the session was heavily disrupted by red flags and a wet track provided extra edge of complication, which hurt any attempt to get a true reading of the tyres and the car setup ahead of qualifying. But showing his ability in tricky conditions, Josh finished the tumultuous session in P11 keeping his nose clean where many other had faltered.

Qualifying at the Monaco circuit is split into two groups with odd and even numbered drivers split between Groups A and B. Running #28 AIX Racing machine, Josh readied himself for the first group of 15 cars to run their fast laps. At a track that is famously difficult for overtaking, the qualifying session is one of the most valuable of the season as often it depicts the final race positions. However with 30 cars fighting for space on the twisty track, it can often prove to be a race of attrition to all who are able to have luck land their way.

“Unfortunately the car felt a bit twitchy in my opening lap and I just missed the wall, so it knocked my confidence and I was forced to play it safe a bit. Although I think P8 in group was the best we could have done so I don’t think there was much more left in the tank.”


No luck at Casino Square

Lining up on the grid for the sprint race on Saturday afternoon, as the track offers little chance for overtaking, Josh planned to make the most of every opportunity at the start. Firing through the opening corner and rocketing up the hill at Beau Rivage, the AIX driver was looking strong as he followed the pack into the Massinet-Casino section.

But as a car span helplessly further ahead, Josh was one of the four victims who were caught up in the incident which unfortunately cut his charge short and ended his race before it really began.

A passenger to his first DNF of the season, Josh recapped:

“I actually got a good start and managed to make up 3 places, but I had nowhere to go and was sandwiched and send straight into the incident. It’s disappointing but that’s the nature of Monaco”

Eager to make amends

Back in action on Sunday morning, initially Josh lost some ground as the pack ran into Saint Devote he was forced to clatter over the sausage kerb at the tight right-hander. Relegated to the back, the only way was forward for the formidable racer who certainly didn’t allow the nature of the track to determine his fortune. With the safety car making it’s appearance before the end of the opening lap, Josh refocused himself for the restart. Racing got back underway on Lap 3 and the 19-year-old clinched back a position from his rival.

As the race ran on, managing tyres was the name of the game. Without any reference point from the sprint race, he made sure to balance his attack whilst looking after his tyres. Making up places where drivers ahead fell foul to incidents, Josh kept his race clean as the laps ticked down until his tyre management really came good as he was able to improve on Floersch ahead and half the gap down from 1.1s to 0.5s. Right on her tail and piling on the pressure with every lap, the young Austrian was hungry as ever to make a pass. But unfortunately an incident further up the road brought out a late safety car.

Although the safety car was withdrawn with one lap remaining, it was too little too late for anyone to make up ground and Josh crossed the line P20 having made up 10 places.

“I had to avoid a collision at the start, which was a shame because it really put me on the back foot. I was able to overtake Shields into Turn 1, after that I was trying to look after my tyres to have an opportunity to overtake if it came my way. I had more tyre at the end but there wasn’t a chance once the safety car came out again.Obviously I’m disappointed we couldn’t make more of this weekend, but the car felt good and we’ll hope for more next time out.”

Josh Dufek will be back in action when racing resumes at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya between the 21st-23rd June. 



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