Rodin Carlin driver Zane Maloney finished the Abu Dhabi Feature Race in P17 following a collision with Vice-Champion Vesti. After running in podium contention for the whole race, Maloney was left disappointed by what had happened but casts no blame onto Vesti.
“We were side by side into Turn 9 and I thought it was a good move from my side and his side, in terms of giving each other space. We would’ve both made it to the corner, he probably would’ve passed me but on the exit I lost the rear. [Vesti] is a clean racer and I see myself as a clean racer and I wouldn’t blame him for what he did at all.”
After scoring second in Practice and qualifying fourth, Maloney’s Carlin car looked to be strong ahead of both the Feature Race and Sprint Race. Team mate Enzo Fittipaldi was not far behind, qualifying tenth before scoring a second-place and appearing on the podium for the Sprint.
“The whole weekend we have been on the pace, we had very good pace all weekend. I had a really bad start, I need to see why so we lost three places there and then we had really good pace. We were able to pick off two of them and I had loads more pace than the car in front.”
Struggling at the start, Maloney lost several positions before beginning his fight up the field to the front. In the second half of the race, Maloney brought the fight to fellow Red Bull Junior Ayumu Iwasa, with the two holding each other up for several laps whilst Maloney reported track limit violations over the radio.
“I was stuck behind Iwasa for the whole race. I tried so many different things and then he cut the track twice, I can’t do anything about that. I would’ve been more aggressive with him. I was a little bit kind but of course, then you could have an accident.”
Clearing Iwasa, Maloney was storming towards the podium. However, when championship contender Frederik Vesti approached swiftly, the pair made contact on the closing lap. This contact caused Maloney to spin and tumble down the order, eventually finishing in P17.
“Overall, it was a bit of a shame that Vesti was coming on softs behind. It’s really difficult to do anything about it. Fourth place means nothing to me so I was going for the podium. I just ran out of rear grip.”
“I think I did a good job. The race was really good. It’s a shame about the last lap but other than that the race was good.”
Zane Maloney finished the 2023 season tenth in the championship, clearing Kush Maini by 34 points and finishing only 12 points behind the Van Amersfoort driver, Richard Verschoor.
Image: James Gasperotti