HITECH UNDERLINES CHAMPIONSHIP INTENTIONS
Reigning British F3 title holder Hitech Racing has signalled its intention to retain the coveted crown with an impressive performance in the season's first official two day test at Pembrey. Austrian Walter Grubmuller and Briton Max Chilton posted the third and fourth quickest times after completing 190 and 176 laps respectively at the Welsh track which concluded on Wednesday.
For Grubmuller, entering his second season in the UK's premier single-seater championship, his time of 48.257 seconds was only marginally slower than the quickest time posted by Atte Mustonen. Nineteen year-old Grubmuller improved dramatically over the course of his first year with the Buckingham-based team and will now head to this week's second test at Snetterton in a confident mood.
While for Chilton, the youngest driver on the 2008 grid and younger brother of BTCC star Tom Chilton, the fourth quickest time was also a superb result for the Reigate youngster. Again, in only his second season in senior motor racing, his time of 48.273seconds was comfortably quicker than many more experienced F3 drivers among the 23-car field.
Completing the three-car line for the David Hayle-led team was F3 race winner and former Formula Palmer Audi Champion Jonathan Kennard who was fourth quickest overall on day one. The Tonbridge racer was drafted into the team to help develop the new Dallara F308 and the former McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver finalist was able to impart valuable information to the team as it bids to retain the title it won with Marko Asmer last year.
David Hayle: "We are all absolutely delighted with the performance of both Walter and Max. They are both very much at the same level in terms in experience and I'm sure this has contributed to a fantastic competitive edge which is inspiring each other to go faster and which ultimately led to the times they were both achieving this week.
"With Jonathan his role within the test was simply as a development test driver. He has a lot of experience in F3 and he was able to give us a load of information that we wouldn't necessarily have got from someone less experienced. He settled in well though and was a valuable asset to the team as it gets to grips with the brand new car for this season."
Walter Grubmuller: "It was a great test and I'm very happy to be up the front in our first test. I was a little surprised to be honest, but then the team has worked hard and I've worked hard over the winter on my fitness so maybe that was the result. The new car is good, not a whole lot different to last years although there is much improved grip and downforce. I'm looking forward to Snetterton and the season starting and hopefully my first podium early on."
Max Chilton: "I was happy after the Pembrey test with how things went. We really weren't working much on set up or performance, it was just a shakedown for the cars really, so to end up fourth quickest was a good feeling. There is a lot more to come, so I feel quite confident after the first two days with the new car. I really enjoyed working with the team and my team mates, it is going to be very close between us and I like the competition within the team."
Jonathan Kennard: "I had a fantastic two days with the team. I got on really well with them and I was very impressed with everything they did and the way they worked and also their plans for development. It was absolutely spot-on. It was my first time in the new car and we were able to complete the whole programme satisfactorily. The team is superb, still hungry for success and certainly not resting on their laurels. If I ran an F3 team myself it would be exactly like Hitech Racing."