DRAMA, DISAPPOINTMENT AND DELIGHT -- ALL IN A DAY AT DONINGTON Despite spinning, crashing and bending his steering in the nail-biting fourth round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series, Charlie Hollings, driving for...
DRAMA, DISAPPOINTMENT AND DELIGHT -- ALL IN A DAY AT DONINGTON
Despite spinning, crashing and bending his steering in the nail-biting fourth round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series, Charlie Hollings, driving for Fortec Motorsport, brought his Mercedes-Benz powered Dallara back in eighth position and, more importantly, in the points at the end of a dramatic weekend of racing at Donington Park.
After qualifying in twelfth place on Saturday morning and, due to a suspected broken damper, in a disappointing twentieth position in the second session, the 23 year old Yorkshireman finished the first race on Sunday fourteenth in the field after being unable to keep pace with the drivers battling at the front.
However, with adjustments to the set-up of his car and renewed determination following the morning's disappointment, race two saw Charlie fly from the very back of the grid to finish seventh in his class, and eighth place overall, picking up four hard-earned championship points.
"After the problems we had on Saturday the team made big changes to my car overnight but the fact that I haven't done any wet weather testing really hampered me - I am normally very comfortable in these conditions," Charlie explained. "So, when I sat at the back of the grid in race two I knew I had to push really hard from the start to get through to the front of the field. The car felt completely different and by the end of lap two I was in fourteenth place, ahead of all the National cars."
Charlie was in tenth position when the safety car came out. On the restart he had a good run and tried to pass Valerio on the chicane but they got too close; the two cars collided and both of them spun. Charlie got his foot on the clutch, hit the power and managed to get back on the track - but hit another car as he got underway. The circuit had started to dry out by this time and he passed two cars straightaway leaving him in twelfth position; only to then realise that he had bent his steering in the crash. Charlie thought that he may have to retire but he managed to carry on and hold his position until the line, while moving further up the field as other drivers came off in the slippery conditions.
"The second race was great fun," Charlie commented. "The action was non-stop on every corner and I got my best result so far this year. The team did a great job getting the car sorted out, particularly after the problems we had during qualifying, and they were just as delighted as me when I climbed 12 places and got back in the competition."
The championship and the weather should hot up in two weeks time as the teams cross The Channel and head to the south of France for the street race in Pau for the fifth and sixth rounds of the championship on the 3-5 June 2006. It will be Charlie's first ever race on a street circuit so it should be another challenging and exciting weekend for the young Yorkshire driver.