GLORY AND MISFORTUNE FOR SWR IN SCOTLAND
Team SWR-Crypton drivers Josh Fisher and Nick Jones took another podium and another strong top six finish respectively in the rounds seven and eight of the British Formula Three International Series at Knockhill in Scotland on 22nd May. They also had to put up with some bad luck, however, each retiring from one race while scoring points in the other. JThe F3 championship visits some of Europe's greatest and most spectacular circuits, but Knockhill, near Edinburgh, must be the quirkiest venue on the calendar. A tight 1.3-mile track with some dramatic climbs and plunges, an idiosyncratic micro-climate and kerbs like launch pads, it rewards the bravest and most committed drivers. Fisher and Jones qualified fourth and sixth on the National Class grid in the morning's dry session, with Josh improving to a superb second with a great drive in the wet later that day. Still lacking wet weather experience, SWR's Californian rookie Jones did well to line up seventh for race two.
There was more rain for race one on Sunday morning, not that Fisher was too concerned by this as he leapt up to third immediately and began battling with Salvador Duran and Barton Mawer, his main rivals for the National Class title. Unfortunately, both the SWR drivers would have their races spoilt by Bruno Senna, nephew of the late multiple world champion Ayrton, who first collided with Jones and took Nick out of sixth place, and then delayed Fisher by spinning in front of the SWR-Crypton driver. Although Josh was able to repass Mawer for the third place he had lost while avoiding the wayward Senna, Fisher ran out of time to catch Duran for second. Nevertheless, third place was still good for his championship quest.
The second race ought to have been the highlight of SWR's weekend, but sadly it all went wrong for Fisher right at the start. Second on the grid and poised to challenge for victory, he suffered the agonising disappointment of a driveshaft breakage as he accelerated away from the line, ending his race on the spot.
"Unfortunately the team that owned this car before us had chosen to fit special, ultra-light driveshafts," explained SWR Team Principal Trevor Powell. "We had no way of knowing this until they broke. The combination of the slope where Josh was on the grid, the extra grip from his new tyres, and his particularly fast start, all proved too much for the driveshafts. I'm disappointed for him, but not in him, because Josh's performance in qualifying and the first race was superb. He would have won race two by miles."
SWR-Crypton still had something to smile about, as Jones drove sensibly and consistently to take sixth position, racing hard with Japan's top female racer Keiko Ihara, while fending off the chasing Ricardo Teixeira.
"I'm absolutely delighted with Nick," said Powell. "He's a rookie, he's new to the country and to all the tracks, and he keeps bringing the car home in the top six, scoring points, learning more and building his confidence along the way."