Asaro eighth at Croft.

May 05, 2003 (Toronto, Ontario): Billy Asaro began his 2003 British Formula 3 racing season yesterday with an eighth-place finish from a pair of Races at Croft Circuit near Leicester, England. The 21-year-old from Unionville, Ontario, who competes in the Championship Class, was very satisfied with the result which he said was a solid foundation for the season.

Asaro went to Croft simply hoping for lots of track time. While his rivals had already completed four races and logged many hours of testing, the Canadian showed up having had only a couple of shakedown runs in his brand-new P1 Racing Dallara-Opel. The test sessions had gone without a hitch, but gremlins hit hard during Friday's practice sessions and the car was able to run just a few laps.

Saturday's qualifying sessions went trouble free, but Asaro, still learning the track, took a conservative approach ranking fifteenth and sixteenth in class.

In the first race, held early Sunday afternoon, Asaro got a great start gaining several positions before the first corner. Further around the lap, however, he spun and found himself dead last in a field of 28. Quickly underway again, he recovered superbly with an impressive run to finish fifteenth in class (eighteenth overall).

Asaro felt more comfortable with the car for the second race and drove to an excellent eighth-place finish (in class and overall). Making several assertive passes and looking feisty, he was the second-highest Opel-powered runner in a field dominated by Mugen-Hondas.

"I've got my first top-ten of the season and I'm happy with that," said Asaro. "I wasn't expecting to come here and be at the front. I'm still a bit rusty from the off-season and there are always teething problems with a new car. The team has worked very hard, and I'm very motivated.

"The plan is to build up pace over the next few races and get a solid block of test time when the schedule allows. We expect to be really competitive in the second half of the season."

Next on the British Formula 3 schedule is a pair of races at Knockhill, Scotland, May 10-11.