It was a home weekend to savour for Trident who, through Sami Meguetounif, took victory in the Imola Feature Race, as Leonardo Fornaroli joined him on the podium after finishing third.

This came after the Italian outfit achieved a 1-2-3 in Qualifying led by Santiago Ramos, a feat that had not been accomplished since PREMA Racing did so at Round 8 back in 2019.

But how did they do it? Well, Trident, along with MP Motorsport, chose a different strategy to the rest, one Team Manager Giacomo Ricci called a “gamble”. However, it wound up working out in the most successful of ways.

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So, here is where they found the crucial advantage in Qualifying…


Arriving at Imola second in the Championship and off the back of a Melbourne weekend in which Fornaroli took pole position and ended up P2 in the Feature, Trident came into Round 3 as one of the favourites.

That was further proved by Free Practice where Fornaroli and Ramos set the fourth and fifth-quickest times – although Meguetounif was down in P21 as somewhat of an outlier.

Fornaroli was the fastest Trident car early on and was second after the first laps in Qualifying
Fornaroli was the fastest Trident car early on and was second after the first laps in Qualifying

Their strong form continued into Qualifying as on the first set of the laps, Fornaroli was up in second behind his compatriot Gabriele Minì, while Ramos was in P7 and Meguetounif in P13.

They looked to be improving but a Red Flag caused by Rodin Motorsport’s Callum Voisin spinning into the gravel at Turn 4 stopped the session and sent them back into the pitlane with 20 minutes to go.


With the track clear and the session back underway the action got going once more but there was a choice to make for all the teams. Do they immediately send their drivers out on new tyres or stick with the used compounds?

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Trident and MP chose to go with the new tyres while the rest of the field decided to stick with their older rubber.

So, while they were doing multiple warmup laps on their new mediums, the rest were pushing on their used tyres and in the fight for pole position, only Oliver Goethe and Luke Browning improved with the former going fastest.

The advantage to doing this was Trident and MP gave their drivers an empty track on their new mediums to set their best laps, with the rest having gone back into the pitlane.

Trident kept their three cars in the pit lane later than the rest of their rivals
Trident kept their three cars in the pit lane later than the rest of their rivals

This helped Fornaroli go fastest, while Meguetounif went up to P4 ahead of Ramos in sixth. For MP, Alexander Dunne was second with Tim Tramnitz in sixth and Kacper Sztuka in 10th.

Another benefit for both teams was that in the case of another Red Flag, they had already set quick banker laps that put them all in the top 12 and gave them a chance in both the Sprint and Feature Race.


With their laps complete, the six drivers returned to the pitlane while the rest of the field were heading out on track with just under 10 minutes to go.

Both teams waited to send their drivers out but with six minutes left they emerged on to the track on another set of new tyres. At that point, a huge amount of traffic had built up in the final sector as drivers jostled for position before setting off on their flying laps.

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The issue with this was shown by ART Grand Prix pair Nikola Tsolov and Laurens van Hoepen, who got in each other’s way in the first sector causing the former to abort what was already a compromised lap.

Trident avoided this and once again gave their drivers multiple warmup laps ahead of their one final flying attempt which would come when the circuit was in its best condition of the day and without having to fight for track position in the queue.


But that also put a huge amount of pressure on Fornaroli, Meguetounif and Ramos, as it meant they could not make a mistake. At that point, the Mexican was now in P13 and outside of the top 12 with other drivers having improved.

At the same time, PREMA drivers Arvid Lindblad and Dino Beganovic had gone to first and second, pushing Fornaroli down to P3 – while Meguetounif was 10th.

Ramos pipped Fornaroli to take his maiden F3 pole position by 0.053s
Ramos pipped Fornaroli to take his maiden F3 pole position by 0.053s

It also meant that if there was a late yellow or Red Flag, the session might not be restarted which could have left Trident in a precarious position. However, it was a risk they were willing to take.

Fornaroli then went fastest, before Meguetounif moved up to second. Ramos followed the Frenchman across the line to complete a lap of 1:31.767, giving him pole position by just 0.053s.

Their rivals who they had been battling for top spot could not improve on their next laps having used up the tyres earlier.

The strategy also worked for MP, with Dunne up in fifth – although he was later disqualified from Qualifying for a technical infringement – ahead of Tramnitz in P10 while Sztuka wound up in P13, although he moved back up one spot with the Irishman demoted to the back of the grid.

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“With the strategy we took a gamble that now is easy to smile and say we did the right thing,” said Ricci after the session. “But it could have easily gone in the complete opposite direction. But everything went smoothly, there was no Red Flag and so our strategy really paid off in the end.

“In that moment right at the end, it decides everything. Then you just have to hope that there’s no red or yellow flags in that push lap because you’re a lap behind everybody with less fuel, brand new tyres, and the drivers’ confidence at its highest.”

It was a superb result for Trident off the back of them making a bold call and it set them up for a special result on Sunday.

This means they head to Monte Carlo with Fornaroli holding the outright lead in the Drivers' Championship and having also closed the gap on PREMA to 15 points in the Teams’ Standings.