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Chinese racer offers some comfort for Attleborough team at Paul Ricard

PUBLISHED: 09:30 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:30 27 June 2019

Guan Yu Zhou celebrating his third place in the second of the FIA Formula 2 races at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France for the UNI-Virtuosi team based at Attleborough Picture: Joe Portlock/LAT

Guan Yu Zhou celebrating his third place in the second of the FIA Formula 2 races at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France for the UNI-Virtuosi team based at Attleborough Picture: Joe Portlock/LAT

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The Attleborough-based UNI-Virtuosi team endured the highs and lows of motorsport in the latest round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship when it visited the French circuit of Paul Ricard.

The UNI-Virtuosi team-mates in the Attleborough squad, Guan Yu Zhou and Luca Ghiotto, running in fourth and fifth places in the latter stages of the first FIA Formula 2 race at Paul Ricard Picture: Joe Portlock/LAT.The UNI-Virtuosi team-mates in the Attleborough squad, Guan Yu Zhou and Luca Ghiotto, running in fourth and fifth places in the latter stages of the first FIA Formula 2 race at Paul Ricard Picture: Joe Portlock/LAT.

The high point in qualifying was Guan Yu Zhou snatching his first front row start with a superb lap which saw the Chinese driver in second place.

However, former championship leader Luca Ghiotto couldn't find a clear lap in a stop/start session and end up 11th quickest, which became 14th after a grid penalty was applied from the previous event.

Zhou was shuffled down to fourth place at the start of the opening race, which was quickly halted due to a number of accidents which allowed Ghiotto to use a different strategy to lead much of the restarted race.

With 10 laps remaining Ghiotto exchanged tyres and resumed in fifth place only for the Italian to sufferer with a steering issue which allowed Juan Manuel Correa to mount an attach which ended with Ghiotto in the barriers with a broken front wheel.

Dan Zelos racing to a podium place at Donington Park in his Evergreen Tyres-supported EXCELR8 Motorsport-prepared Mini JCW Challenger Picture: David Lloyd PhotographyDan Zelos racing to a podium place at Donington Park in his Evergreen Tyres-supported EXCELR8 Motorsport-prepared Mini JCW Challenger Picture: David Lloyd Photography

An audacious move on Jack Aitken paid off for Zhou and secured him third place in Sunday's Sprint race while Ghiotto trailed in a disappointed 12th.

"Three race weekends, we've had three podiums in a row. That's some achievement," said a delighted Zhou, who cemented his lead as the best newcomer in the series.

"Sunday's race start wasn't great but I pulled off two aggressive moves to get back into a podium position. That was an exciting race from my point of view and I think I drove one of my best races so far."

Dan Zelos is edging ever closer to a maiden Mini JCW Challenge race victory with the Dereham racer claiming another pair of podium places in the latest races at Donington Park.

Dereham’s Dan Zelos giving the thumbs up after securing second place in the latest race in the Mini JCW Challenge at Donington Park: Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyDereham’s Dan Zelos giving the thumbs up after securing second place in the latest race in the Mini JCW Challenge at Donington Park: Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The Evergreen Tyres-supported racer hadn't quite hooked up the tricky Derbyshire track in testing but managed to secure a third place starting slot for race one, a position he maintained throughout the opening encounter.

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"Really chuffed with that after our tough day in testing yesterday," said Zelos.

The draw for grid positions saw Zelos start race two in fourth place and after a hectic opening lap he was in third place behind Ben Palmer who he managed to outfox at half distance to secure second place to his EXCELR8 team-mate, Nathan Harrison, who claimed his second win of the weekend.

"A hard-fought podium," admitted Zelos, who also claimed the race's fastest lap and another Rookie winner's trophy.

An early pit stop to check out his car after a half spin ruined Lewis Galer's first race after the 16-year-old East Lexham student had started the opening race from 17th place.

Race two went much better, despite being shuffled back to 21st place by the end of the opening lap. Head down, the local racer claimed three scalps on the next lap and made 17th place his own with three laps to run.

Jason Baker totally dominated the opening Ferrari Challenge race at Snetterton, claiming pole position and setting the race's fastest lap time on his way to a comfortable victory - and then repeated the feat in Sunday's encounter.

Having been placed third in the main event, Wayne Marrs swapped to his F355 contender for the opening Ferrari Classic race and proved every bit as dominant as Baker had been in the Challenge race.

Marrs also won Sunday's two races, but was pushed hard in the third by Tristan Simpson.

Ten Caterham races, nine Mazda MX5 encounters plus a pair of VW GTi events make up a full programme of racing at Snetterton this weekend, which starts at 1.35pm on Saturday, resuming at 10am the following day.

The winning margin for the last three MX5 Super Cup races has been less than half a second while the races for the Mk1 version have been a little larger while Caterham's are also renowned for their close racing making for an exciting weekend.

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