Juan Manuel Correa has plenty of highlights from this season, including a daring five-car overtake in Budapest on his way to points.
There’s a special race that stands out to the Van Amersfoort Racing driver though, one in which he shared a special podium on French soil with Anthoine Hubert. He recalls all the details of what remains a treasured memory.
“One of my favourite races I’ve ever done. It’s the Sprint Race in Formula 2, Le Castellet in 2019. That race I think I started second on the reverse grid and Anthoine was on pole. I had a really bad start and dropped down to fifth, I think. But my finish was really good. I got past Nicholas Latifi and Sergio Sette Camara. And then I was chasing down Anthoine for the rest of the race and we had pretty good pace. We kind of went away from the rest of the pack and I ended up finishing second.
“That was a great race, the car was really good, we were quick, and it was my second podium. It’s now quite special because I got to share the podium with him. It was a big deal for him. A Frenchman at the French Grand Prix. It was a big podium and now, looking back, it was very special. I have those pictures and I had a great day.
“I ended up a couple of seconds behind, we were exchanging fastest laps, the gap was only a couple of seconds, but I wouldn’t have caught him I don’t think. He was managing the race and we were laughing after the race. He knew I was pushing hard and doing fastest laps and then had to pick up the pace and go fast too, which he gave me some stick for, ‘why did you push me?!’ that kind of thing. It was a very physical race, so we were both pretty tired after. But he had good pace, and I wasn’t going to catch him in the end.
“It was the second podium for me, it was more controlled than my first. The Baku one was where I didn’t quite have the pace and I just managed to stay there to the end, barely. Whereas Paul Ricard was the opposite, I lost positions and I gained them back and I deserved to be there pace-wise. It was a more established podium, I think.
“It hadn’t been a real easy weekend up to that point. The way it worked back then was the Sprint Race grid was decided after the Feature Race. We ended up having a decent Feature Race with a good strategy and that’s what got us into the reverse grid starting position for the Sprint, but it hadn’t been an easy weekend overall, we just got something good out of it.
“I knew the pace was ok, I didn’t expect that we’d be one of the quickest in the Sprint Race. It felt really good to pass some of those guys. I think it was Latifi and Jack Aitkin, they were both quick that year and it felt good to pass both and I pulled away. That felt really good. The biggest memory I have is that the car was really good that day, it was easy. It’s not often you find in this sport that the car you have is that good.
“I remember I was a bit angry because I wanted to win. I think if I didn’t have a bad start, I would’ve won the race. But we were chatting after the race, pretty happy and him especially having won at home. We were speaking about where we were going to go out the week after for a celebration.
“Little fact about that weekend, I almost peed in my seat during the race. We had a Red Flag in the Feature Race and I had to pee already before the race. I told my engineer and he was making fun of me, saying it was a new seat and they ended up broadcasting the whole thing!”