Points and a podium at windy, sunny, rainy Thruxton
Jaguar Racing duo Andre Lotterer and James Courtney experienced a weekend of mixed fortunes and weather conditions in the Green Flag British Formula Three triple-header at Thruxton, adding valuable Championship points, but securing a single podium finish.
Held on a sunny Saturday afternoon, this race was rescheduled following the poor weather at Knockhill a fortnight ago. The grid was based on the qualifying session held at Knockhill, meaning James lined up fourth on the grid and Andre ninth.
James made a good start and in the early stages was able to challenge third-placed Andy Priaulx and second-placed Takuma Sato. A blistering to his left rear tyre in the latter stages meant that he had to content himself with holding his position.
Andre made a good start but had to rapidly take evasive action to avoid Jeffrey Jones who had stalled on the grid. He dropped back a couple of places but as the race developed was able to claw back the places, passing Gimmi Bruni on the sixth lap and Matt Davies on the eleventh. He later described them as textbook manoeuvres, crediting both drivers for being fair and not taking action that could have been dangerous on the high-speed track. He ended the race in eighth place after the race was red-flagged two laps early.
James started the race third on the grid and held station off the line, but lost a place to Matt Davies at the race restart, following an opening lap incident involving Scholarship class cars. He lost a further place on the eighth lap to Mark Taylor but was then able to maintain this position.
Andre began fifth and made an excellent start but was punted from behind by Alex Gurney at Allard, putting the German into a spin. He rejoined in twenty-first place but through the course of the race, scythed his way up through the field, eventually ending the race in thirteenth position.
With the skies a heavy grey-black, James took to the grid in third position, but on the opening lap took Takuma Sato at Church to move into second. He kept race-leader Anthony Davidson in his sights, eventually making his move on the seventeenth lap. Davidson was unhappy with the Australian's audacious move, taking action that would not only send James into a spin, but bring himself to the attention of the Clerk of the Course. James was able to retain second after the race was red-flagged because of the rain on the next lap, as the result was taken from the previous lap.
Andre had qualified thirteenth but lost places to cross the line at the end of the first lap in seventeenth. Like the first race, he gradually carved his way through the field utilising every corner as an overtaking opportunity, ending the race in seventh position.
Takuma Sato ended the meeting on 297 points, sufficient to give him the 2001 Championship title. Anthony Davidson is second in the standings with 210, followed by Derek Hayes with 208. James is fourth with 191 points and Andre fifth 132 points.