The EuroFormula Open title battle went down to the wire in 2015, with two drivers battling tooth and nail until the final laps of the season to follow in the footsteps of 2014 champion Sandy Stuvik.
Brazilian teenager Vitor Baptista and Russian driver Konstantin Tereschenko were the dominant drivers in the championship in 2015, with twelve of the sixteen races being won by one or the other, with six wins a piece, but it was Baptista who ultimately triumphed by just five points.
Of course, the duo did not have it all their own way, with solitary wins for Yu Kanamaru, Alessio Rovera, Damiano Fioravanti and Leonardo Pulcini, but even early in the season it was clear the championship protagonists would be Baptista and Tereschenko, with the battle ebbing and flowing all year long.
The Battle for the Championship
After sixteen races, just five points separated the two championship contenders at the end of the season, but for the second consecutive season it was RP Motorsport who took one of their drivers to the title.
Vitor Baptista arrived in the championship from a dominant Brazilian Formula 3 campaign, and was immediately on the pace in the EuroFormula Open Dallara, securing his maiden podium finish in the first race of the season in Jerez, and his first victory followed in just his third outing of the year at the French circuit of Paul Ricard.
Another win followed at Estoril, but it was his four consecutive victories that started in race two at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, through both races at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps and the first race of the Monza weekend that saw him take the championship lead that he would never give up again.
Although he had a relatively quiet final weekend of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya, Baptista did all he needed to secure the title.
Konstantin Tereschenko on the other hand was in his second season of EuroFormula Open, having remained with the Campos Racing team for 2015 having made his debut with them in 2014, and the young Russian had a strong season.
He secured his first win of the year in the second race in Jerez, and followed that up with victories at Paul Ricard, Estoril and Silverstone, before completing the season with a dominant double victory at the Circuit de Catalunya as he did everything he could to attempt to snatch the title away from Baptista.
It could have been so different however for Tereschenko had he not misjudged a move of RP Motorsport’s Igor Walilko at Monza that saw him retire while in the battle for the win. Without this error by the Russian, the championship could well have been in his hands right now.
But without a doubt, Baptista and Tereschenko were the stand-out drivers of 2015, and both would have been deserving champions, but in the end the Brazilian who took the crown.
The ‘Other’ Race Winners
Emilio de Villota Motorsport driver Kanamaru was the driver who was able to be involved more often in the fight at the front with Baptista and Tereschenko, but the sophomore driver’s season saw only one victory at Silverstone and six other podium finishes, and was 85 points back in the championship standings at the end of the year.
Rovera took the victory in the opening race of the season in Jerez for DAV Racing after a chaotic race on a damp track, having started from thirteenth on the grid, but the Italian had a disrupted season, switching to BVM Racing for three rounds before returning to DAV Racing for two of the final three events. Rovera finished sixth in the championship despite missing the races at the Red Bull Ring and the season finale at the Circuit de Catalunya, but had been amid the championship battle in the early rounds.
For Fioravanti, the Italian’s first full season of EuroFormula Open, after a disrupted 2014 season racing between Corbetta Competizioni and BVM Racing, saw the young Italian secure his maiden victory at Monza as he finished seventh in the championship standings. Fioravanti’s performances with RP Motorsport seemed to improve as the year went on and as his confidence grew, and his Monza victory was well received by his home fans.
The final race winner was for the highly promising Italian teenager Pulcini, who secured his maiden victory at the Red Bull Ring in July. The DAV Racing driver only visited the podium on one other occasion however, a third place finish at Spa-Francorchamps, but Pulcini showed on many occasions a lot of promise and speed, and should be one to watch for the future.
The Best of the Rest
Despite not securing a race victory for a second consecutive season, the Team West-Tec F3 team secured fourth and fifth in the drivers championship, with Thai driver Tanart Sathienthirakul ahead of his Israeli team-mate Yarin Stern.
Stern started the season as one of the pre-season favourites, but a pole position in the season opener at Jerez was the best it would get, and the fact he all but stalled at the start summed up his season. He would take three podium finishes, but it was not the season he had hoped for after a promising debut year in 2014.
Sathienthirakul also secured three podium finishes, but had a more consistent season to that of his team-mate, which rewarded him with fourth place in the championship, although he might rue clashing with Damiano Fioravanti in Monza while on course for a strong result.
A quick mention too here for Mexican racer Diego Menchaca, who was another driver to improve significantly over the season, with the Campos Racing driver being rewarded with a podium finish in the season finale at the Circuit de Catalunya that saw him jump into eighth position in the final standings.
Spanish Formula 3 Championship
The races weekends in Jerez, Estoril and Catalunya all counted towards the Spanish Formula 3 Championship, and it was Tereschenko who got revenge on Baptista to take this crown.
Tereschenko won four of the six races that made up the championship season, and secured the title with his double victory in the finale ahead of Baptista, with Kanamaru once again placing third ahead of Sathienthirakul and Stern.
In the season finale, two guest entries came in an impressed, with Daniel Juncadella, racing with Emilio de Villota Motorsport in a bid to race in the Macau Grand Prix, finishing fourth in race one and third in race two, while Ferdinand Habsburg raced with Drivex School and secured fourth in race two after a tenth in race one.