PODIUM FINISH KEEPS FISHER IN CONTENTION Team SWR-Crypton driver Josh Fisher remains a contender for the British Formula Three National Class title after taking a hard-fought podium finish and a fifth position in last weekend's Croft ...
PODIUM FINISH KEEPS FISHER IN CONTENTION
Team SWR-Crypton driver Josh Fisher remains a contender for the British Formula Three National Class title after taking a hard-fought podium finish and a fifth position in last weekend's Croft double-header. A violent accident in qualifying on Saturday put Fisher and SWR-Crypton behind their competition at first, but hard work by the team and superb driving by Josh rescued what could have been a disastrous weekend at the Yorkshire track.
Fisher's team-mate Nick Jones backed him up with a promising sixth place in race one and then seventh in his first ever wet race later in the afternoon.
Having taken a National win and third place in the championship's opening rounds at Donington Park last month, Fisher was hotly tipped for more victories at Croft -- a track where he has proved highly successful in the past. His hopes took a dive in first qualifying, however, when Josh left the road at 110mph at the Sunny Out corner. The subsequent rendezvous with the barriers caused substantial damage to both ends of the SWR-Crypton Dallara-Mugen Honda, but it took the team just an hour and a half to get the car back into shape for second qualifying.
"It was literally a case of just rebuilding the car to get it onto the track," said SWR-Crypton Team Principal Trevor Powell. "There was no time to worry about the handling or the set-up, we just needed to get it on the grid for race two. The team did superbly and we only missed ten minutes of the session, and although Josh obviously wasn't happy with the car's handling, he did his usual excellent job."
Fisher had already qualified fifth for race one prior to his accident, and then took the rapidly repaired car to sixth on the grid in the second session. Jones, who was racing at Croft for the first time, chipped away at his times all day and secured eighth place for both races.
Although the team made some adjustments to Josh's car overnight, it was never going to be possible to get the machine back into perfect condition at the track. Despite heading into the races knowing that his car's handling would be rather compromised, Fisher got his head down and charged onto the podium in race one -- shrugging off a mid-race hailstorm to chase leaders Salvador Duran and Barton Mawer throughout. An early spin left Jones well behind the field, but he was undaunted and drove very well to come back through to sixth place at the flag.
The wet race two was a little less successful. Having spent the vast majority of his racing career so far in America, Jones has minimal experience of racing in the rain. Rather more accustomed to sunny Californian tracks than the sodden Yorkshire circuit that faced him in race two, Nick did extremely well to stay on the track (except when punted into a spin by Charles Hollings early on) and finish 7th in the National Class.JJ"You really can't fault Nick," said Powell. "It certainly wasn't the easiest situation for him as he had never actually raced in the rain before, and he really did a superb job. He needs more mileage on the UK tracks, and with that will come confidence, and therefore more speed."
Jones' team-mate Fisher was busy charging towards the front of the field once again, but became stuck in a long running battle with Jonathan Kennard and Juho Annala for third place. Kennard's robust defensive driving resulted in damage to Fisher's front wing, causing him to slip to fifth in the final laps. The points gained keep Josh in a close third place in the National championship.
"As usual, Josh just got on with it in the races regardless of what circumstances threw at him," said Powell. "He drove very, very well indeed. This weekend could have been an absolute disaster after the qualifying crash, but we came away with another podium and some very strong points finishes, which is exactly what we need to be doing at this stage in the season."