Atte Mustonen eighth at the Donington F3 round Atte fast in both races, but has problems in qualifying Raikkonen Robertson Racing (Double R) team's F3 driver Atte Mustonen finished the first race of this weekend's Donington round of the ...
Atte Mustonen eighth at the Donington F3 round
Atte fast in both races, but has problems in qualifying
Raikkonen Robertson Racing (Double R) team's F3 driver Atte Mustonen finished the first race of this weekend's Donington round of the British F3 series in ninth place. In the second race, Atte finished eighth.
Atte is familiar with the Donington track from his earlier FR 2.0 campaigns, and so had high hopes for this weekend's race meeting. Saturday's qualifying session was held in good, dry conditions. Pole position for Sunday's first race was taken by Hitech Racing's Marko Asmer, second place by Double R team's Stephen Jelley, and third place by Fortec Motorsport's Greg Mansell. Atte was not on good form during the first qualifying session, and had to settle for a start from eighth on the grid. For the second start, pole position and second on the grid went to the same drivers as before, with Carlin Motorsport's Maro Engel claiming third place. Atte had technical problems to contend with during the second qualifying session; his car's brakes jammed on due to a trapped brake line. Atte was really disappointed as he had been aiming to be among the five fastest in qualifying. The problems with the cars brakes meant that Atte had to be happy with a start from twelfth on the grid.
The first race was held in dry and sunny conditions. Atte started form eighth on the grid, got a good start and immediately moved up to sixth. The traffic ahead of Atte was slowing him down, and he eventually lost the two places he had gained at the start. Driving in the centre of the pack like this is never easy; it is difficult to overtake, and the risk of a crash is much higher. Four drivers were engaged in a thrilling battle for sixth place with only tenths of a second between them; Esteban Guerrierin (Ultimate Motorsport), Maro Engelin (Carlin Motorsport), Mario Moraesin (Carlin Motorsport) and Atte. Atte eventually finished ninth. The podium places went to the fastest three qualifiers; pole position man Asmer was first, Jelley was second and Mansell third.
The second race of the day got underway two hours later. Atte had a real challenge ahead of him, as only fractions of a second separated the top twelve drivers. In fact the slowest of the twelve was lapping within a second of the fastest. The lack of overtaking opportunities afforded by the Donington track only added to the excitement. Atte started the race in fighting spirit, and before long was up to seventh, but then ran wide trying to overtake and dropped back down to twelfth. Atte once again began picking off the drivers in front of him one by one, until half way through the race he set his sights on Ultimate Motorsport's Michael Devaney. They crossed the line with only a hair's breadth separating them. Atte finished the race in eighth place. The race was again won by Asmer, with Carlin Motorsport's Niall Breen second and Double R's Jonathan Kennard third.
"In short, I'm really disappointed. It felt like nothing went our way. But we'll fight on, and hope that our luck changes soon. We have to get qualifying sorted out," said Atte of his Donington weekend.