Diego Menchaca secured a podium finish in Sunday’s second EuroFormula Open race at the Red Bull Ring, a day after suffering what he described as ‘the hardest crash’ of his career.
The Campos Racing driver had made a good start and was on course to fall into second place, only to spin in front of the pack, and was collected first by Antoni Ptak and then in a more violent fashion by team-mate Gülhüseyn Abdullayev, will Julio Moreno, Vladimir Atoev and Daniil Pronenko were also eliminated in the subsequent carnage.
Despite the ferocity of the accident, Menchaca was able to get out of his car unaided, albeit with pain in his leg, but the consequences could have been far worse, especially after Abdullayev’s hit at full throttle.
“I made a great start, moved into third place just when the lights went out,” said Menchaca on escuderiatelmex.com. “In braking for Turn 1 got into second place, I braked on the outside, I lost the back of the car and did a half spin.
“Unfortunately a driver failed when he saw me and crashed head-on with the throttle against me. It was the hardest crash I’ve had in my career. Fortunately I could walk though with much pain in one leg.”
His team did an amazing job to get his car repaired in time for Sunday’s second race, and after qualifying seventh on the grid, he drove strongly to take a podium finish, capitalising on a mid-race spin at the final corner from Ptak to take his fourth third place finish of 2016.
“First of all, I’m enormously grateful to the team to finish assembling my car,” said Menchaca. “I could qualify in seventh place, after what happened yesterday these were good news they stayed up all night working on it.
“It was a great race, starting seventh and did a great performance, managing to win two positions. After a big fight I managed to finish third with a great pace and we scored the second best lap of the race.
“After yesterday’s crash, not knowing whether I could participate today and race achy, this podium that pairs victory for me, I dedicate it to my team for the great work.”