It was a brilliant weekend for Josh Irfan who won the prestigious Trofeo Andrea Margutti at the South Garda Circuit (ITA) in the 60 Mini class! The Baby Race driver becomes just the tenth Brit to win the event since it’s inception in 1990 following in the footsteps of Dan Ticktum, Oliver Oakes, Ben Hanley, Nigel Moore, Jack Harvey and more! Arvid Lindblad put in a brilliant performance to make it a British one-two which is even more impressive considering Arvid had never driven the tricky Lonato circuit in the wet conditions before!
There was a strong grid of over 60 drivers entered into the fiercely competitive 60 Mini class and after a run of bad luck in Europe this was just the result Josh needed! The young Brit was on form right from the off as he qualified pole position by just under two tenths of a second! As for Arvid his weekend didn’t get off to a hugely impressive start with 11th in qualifying, but the young Oliver Rowland Motorsport driver was clearly not determined to give up on a podium!
In the heats Josh became the driver everyone wanted to beat, but dealt with the pressure very well going on to win by all three of his heats! The wins were far from easy with Josh winning by less than a second in each race, but he defended when he needed to and most importantly never made any mistakes!
Arvid was also flying in tricky conditions and cruised to a 7.3 second victory in the opening heat. The heat two result would have roughly been the same if not for a front fairing penalty but Arvid’s lead was so extensive he would still finish in 2nd place. Heat three saw him go head to head with Irfan where he picked up another 2nd place.
Conditions were not the easiest to contend with on Saturday or Sunday but Josh and Arvid were determined to get their hands on a trophy. The Pre-Final would determine the grid for the final and starting from pole position Irfan had no problems leading from the front once again and was barely challenged on his way to yet another victory.
Lindblad’s race, however, was quite the opposite! Starting 2nd he put the pressure on Irfan early on but a mistake saw him drop to 14th place. He impressively recovered to finish 7th, but getting a victory from there would be extremely difficult.
Heading into the final Irfan looked on to take the perfect win, he had qualified pole and won all three heats and the Pre-Final. Even more impressively Irfan had led every single lap of the weekend bar one! For his competitors to win he needed to hit mechanical issues as he was in a league of his own.
Unfortunately for the rest of the field, including Lindblad, that would not happen and Josh went on to take a commanding lights to flag victory in the final winning by one second. It was a weekend he will not forget in a hurry, he led all but one of the laps over the weekend and more importantly became the tenth Brit to win the event adding his name to the afore mentioned list.
Other drivers to win the event include F1 drivers past and present Robert Kubica, Daniil Kvyat and Giancarlo Fisichella! If history is to repeat itself Josh has a very big future ahead of him…
The same should certainly be said for Arvid Lindblad! He had a spectacular race coming through to finish 2nd just one second behind Irfan. That result puts him in the same category as fellow Brits Will Stevens, Jon Lancaster and Jack Hawksworth along with Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Buemi.
How did the other British drivers do?
Zak O’Sullivan – 6th
The Ricky Flynn Motorsport driver got his weekend off to a brilliant start, but one bad result in the heats saw his chance of a win taken away. Zak started the weekend well with 3rd in qualifying but his heats couldn’t have started much worse with 22nd. From there he faced an uphill battle and fought it well finishing 4th in the next heat, 13th in the Pre-Final and 6th in the final gaining seven places.
Fin Kenneally – 4th
It was great to see Fin Kenneally return to the paddock after what seems to have been a lengthy time away from the sport. Fin has certainly not lost his touch and was straight on the pace Friday qualifying 6th. The heats started with a 5th place and that would have followed with a 2nd rather than a 6th bar a front fairing penalty. Fin continued to knock on the door of a podium with a 4th in the Pre-Final before going on to secure 4th place in the final. An impressive return in what was a competitive field!
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Sportinphoto