SECOND AND FIFTH FOR HITECH AT OULTON Hitech Racing's Max Chilton secured his maiden podium finish in the opening round of the British Formula 3 International Series at Oulton Park today. Austrian Walter Grubmuller finished fifth in the ...
SECOND AND FIFTH FOR HITECH AT OULTON
Hitech Racing's Max Chilton secured his maiden podium finish in the opening round of the British Formula 3 International Series at Oulton Park today. Austrian Walter Grubmuller finished fifth in the day's second race, his best result in the championship. Sixteen year-old Max converted his fourth place grid position to second place after 30 minutes of racing however team-mate Walter was unable to capitalise on a superb third place on the grid as he was forced to retire with a gearbox problem on the opening lap.
Starting race one from third, Walter made a good start but got boxed in as the cars entered the first corner, which dropped him down to fifth as they exited Old Hall. Chilton, alongside him on the second row, made a great start to slot into second behind Oliver Turvey. That was until first pole-sitter Jaime Alguersuari and then Brendon Hartley found a way past demoting Max to fourth.
Max bided his time as two of the Carlin drivers battled ahead. Four laps from home the pair collided leaving Max to nip through into the runner-up spot to take his first podium in the series. For Walter however, the opening lap proved to be his last, a gearbox problem forcing him into the pits and instant retirement.
In the day's second race, 19 year-old Grubmuller had his best result in the series, with a superb fifth place despite struggling with wheel spin off the line, which dropped him down the order. For Max however, a slow getaway and the subsequent delay following a collision between first race winner Oliver Turvey and Nick Tandy, left him down in 14th at the flag.
David Hayle, Team Principal of the Buckingham-based reigning British Formula 3 International Series champions was delighted with both drivers' results following a consistent pre-season test programme which has seen them regularly in the top five.
"I'm very happy with the results this weekend and if you'd offered me a second and fourth a few months ago I'd have taken it, said David. "However after the superb pre-season performances, and qualifying here on Saturday which netted two third places for Walter, we are all a little disappointed.
"But that's what happens when you have a good result, your expectations go up and we could well have come away with four podiums this weekend. We need to work on the starts though, that seems to have been a problem for Max particularly today, but for Walter he had a gearbox problem which was not his fault.
Max Chilton: "I didn't get a great getaway in race two, I got the hang of the handbrake and let it off at the right time but I dropped the clutch too soon and got too much wheel spin. And then about four or five got past, which meant I had to lift and then a few more got by and I dropped back to 14th. I was following Turvey and we were going round at the same pace and then he pressured Tandy into making a mistake and he smacked the tyres going into Knickerbrook.
"We all had to dodge the tyres and a few more got past there and from then I just had to get to the finish really. Race one was brilliant my first ever podium in F3 and I'm still only 16 so I'm over the moon. The thing is the result in the first race pushed up my expectations for race two, which is why I was so nervous going into the race. I did so well in the first race I put a lot of pressure on myself for the second one, but it wasn't to be."
Walter Grubmuller: "My handbrake broke just before the start hence I had a lot of wheel spin. I think after the first corner I was seventh. I was recovering a bit but I had a bit of understeer although I was able to work my way back up to fifth. So at the end of the day it's not bad although overall the day has been a bit disappointing because of the gearbox problem in race one.
"Had the handbrake not broken I may have had a better start and could have been on the podium. After a great pre-season test and the qualifying on Saturday, I had high expectations of having possibly two podium finishes this weekend so I am a little disappointed to be going home empty-handed but it's still some good points."