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F2 podium return “surreal” on Hubert anniversary

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Juan Manuel Correa secured an emotional return to the Method 2 podium on Sunday, 24 hours after shedding a top-three outcome by way of a post-race penalty and 5 years to the day since his final official look within the prime three.

That event had come within the F2 dash race in the course of the 2019 French Grand Prix weekend, a race that noticed Anthoine Hubert ship the crowds into raptures as he scored his second win in as many occasions, having beforehand received the Monaco dash race.

At the moment, there was no better bond tying Correa and Hubert collectively than there’s between any driver pairing, however this all modified on 31 August of that 12 months, when each males have been concerned in a horrific multi-car collision at Spa Francorchamps on lap two of Saturday’s function race.

Hubert was pronounced {dead} simply 90 minutes later.

It was Correa’s Charouz that had struck the ultimate blow to the Arden automobile, because the American-Ecuadorean arrived unsighted on the scene of the incident and was left with no time to react and nowhere else to go.

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Correa sustained important accidents to his legs and backbone and was positioned in an induced coma after falling into acute respiratory failure. He remained in a coma for 13 days earlier than being woken on 20 September, with surgical procedure to start to restore his legs commencing a number of days later. In January of 2020, he revealed he had “virtually died 4 days after the incident”.

His return to racing has been exceptional, testing an F2 automobile once more in 2021 earlier than finishing two full F3 campaigns. A full-time F2 drive was secured for 2023 with Van Amersfoort Racing earlier than a swap to DAMS for 2024, and now, a podium return has been achieved with solely his second place in that 2019 French dash race standing as a greater outcome than the third he secured on Sunday.

Juan Manuel Correa, Dams

Picture by: Dutch Picture Company

Requested by Autosport if he had been conscious of the anniversary, Correa’s look turned considerate as he stated: “I used to be conscious. That was an excellent day 5 years in the past.

“It’s simply sort of surreal for me to be right here and I’m simply grateful to nonetheless have these alternatives to nonetheless be right here competing at this stage and to be again on the rostrum. It feels nice

“I consider him on a regular basis once I’m doing this sport and I hope he’s smiling up there.

“It’s an excellent coincidence that it fell on this present day and I did the race I did, in order that’s an excellent contact and thanks for mentioning it.”

Correa had in truth already stood on the rostrum in Spain throughout the weekend, ending third within the dash race earlier than a post-race monitor limits penalty relegated him to eighth.

Making use of the alternate technique and beginning on the onerous tyres, Sunday’s race was a check of endurance earlier than mounting a late cost to realize retribution.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Correa stated. “I used to be trying on the gaps on the large display each lap and I knew I used to be a bit far off. I additionally knew that the softs initially of the race didn’t final very lengthy and also you needed to handle them.

“Truly, I didn’t undergo burnouts out of the pitlane as a result of I knew I needed to do 10 laps on them.

“My fundamental focus was to make the passes shortly. I didn’t wish to keep behind the opposite guys. Among the strikes have been a bit on the restrict so I needed to take a threat with the grip that I had, so I feel that was properly managed.

“In some unspecified time in the future, I assumed that I might go for Franco (Colapinto) however with one lap to go, the tyres overheated and I realised it was higher to safe my P3 than go all out to get him after which run out of tyres.

“It felt beneath management till the final lap however we wouldn’t have had sufficient for the one.

“I had a really unhealthy begin and misplaced seven seconds. If that didn’t occur, it will have been a special story and I might have been in a special place.”

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