HITECH AND ASMER CROWNED BRITISH F3 CHAMPIONS
Hitech Racing has won the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 International Series for the first time with Estonian Marko Asmer in an unassailable lead with still two rounds remaining. A dominant performance which saw him take a lights flag victory, his tenth win of the year, gave the Silverstone-based team and the Buckingham-based driver title glory, but it was an unlucky day for his young team-mate Walter Grubmuller who unfortunately failed to finish either race, despite battling for sixth place in the opening one.
Twenty-three year-old Asmer led the series going into the penultimate round by a massive 72 points and starting race one from his ninth pole position of the year, made a stunning getaway at the lights to take the immediate lead as his main series rival Maro Engel clashed with team-mate Niall Breen at the first corner.
For nearly half of the 24 laps Marko stamped his authority on the race, extending his lead over eventual race winner Stephen Jelley to more than five seconds until his engine began to lose power and eventually expired on lap 12 forcing the Estonian to park his Dallara Mercedes HWA out on the track but with the coveted title firmly in his pocket.
Grubmuller also made a superb start, moving up three places on the opening lap before getting onto the tail of the battle for sixth place by the half-way point. Running in ninth place with the retirement of his team-mate Marko, Walter looked set for another top ten finish but an overtaking manoeuvre up the inside of John Martin's Dallara on the very last lap saw the pair make contact, ending the Austrian's race on the spot.
Race two again had Marko starting from pole position and a lightening getaway saw him lead into the first corner and thereafter he was never headed as he romped to his tenth victory to win by over three seconds from Breen. For Grubmuller who maintained his 12th place starting position off the line, the race lasted less than a lap, as an ambitious move by Mario Moraes saw the pair pitched off the track and onto the grass, his race ended on the spot.
For the team, victory this afternoon was a fitting result and just reward for five years of hard work and team Principal David Hayle was quick to praise not just Marko but the remainder of the Hitech outfit.
David Hayle: "It's a strange feeling because we officially won it after a non-finish but the second race was just out of this world. It's been five years of hard graft finally paying off. It's more special winning our first title with Marko because very few drivers become very close to a team and you very rarely have a special bond with a driver and with Marko we definitely have a special bond which makes it all the more special.
"This win is the result of a superb job by the whole team and the driver and without this all falling into place none of it would be possible. Walter has had a difficult weekend, because this weekend was always going to be about Marko and winning the championship and it must be hard for any driver in that situation to focus on his job. He's a rookie and it's hard enough for him as it is, without that extra pressure but hopefully now that the title is done and won, we can all focus on going forward to help Walter even further."
Marko Asmer: "It's now sunk in; I didn't feel like I'd really won the title after race one and I wanted to take it with another race victory. The team has been excellent this year, no mistakes, nothing, the car has been fantastic. It's a stupid thing to say I know, but thanks to everybody. I'm very happy."
Walter Grubmuller: "Moraes made a ludicrous move on me to pass me while I was already in the corner then coming out I passed him again. Then on the straight he just went into me and spun me round and the race was over before it even began. In this morning's race, I made a pretty good start and moved up a few places then on the last lap I tried to make a move which unfortunately didn't work out and it ended my race. The pace was there once again, so it's a little disappointing to say the least."