Robert Doornbos, regular in the new F3 Euro Series with Team Ghinzani and lying ninth in the highly-competitive standings, made his return to the British series this weekend at Brands Hatch, for the finale appointment of the season. Last 17th August in Spa, Robert had his first approach to the British F3 series with Team Menu (standing in for the injured Rob Austin) and immediately went on to record the team's first ever pole position in the category.
Qualifying for Race1 could be pretty good for the Dutch 22 years old driver from the moment that he was able to be very fast since the free practice session where he was 2nd overall. "My car was really good and well balanced" explained Robert "I remained 2nd faster in qualifying1 from the beginning of the session until the last ones when I entered the pit-lane. I thought there was red flag, so I came back to the box; unfortunately there was not. In the 3 minutes I stayed in the box most of the drivers improved their lap times and I dropped from 2nd to 15th! Incredible!". The first race finished quite early for Robert. Having qualified in 15th position he knew that it would have been almost impossible to finish at podium so he started to start from the box and run some laps just in order to check that everything was ok on his car for race2. He run only 8 laps and was also able to set the fastest time (1:19.127) as a proof that his Dallara-Opel had a perfect set up.
Qualifying for Race2 gave to Robert and Team Menu another supreme satisfaction when they claimed the 2nd top fastest time among 28 drivers. The qualifying session was extremely competitive and saw a strong battle for the pole position between Nelson Piquet Jnr and Doornbos who were the only driver to sign a time under the 1:19.000. 1:18.823 for the pole sitter Piquet and a close 1:18.993 for Team Menu with Robert. "I'm very satisfy with my second qualifying. I set the fastest time in the first part of the session and I could keep it until the end when Piquet passed me and, unfortunately for me, improved my time of one tenth. The second time was good, anyway". At the green lights Robert made a clean start, as he is used to, and for the first 5 laps Robert and Piquet were the only two able to maintain a strong rhythm taking an advantage of three seconds on the follower Green. The race was stooped with red flag after just 5 laps, for an accident. At the restart Robert had a worst start and was passed by two cars. He finally finished in 2nd position thanks to the sum of the times. "My fist start was better than the second. At the green lights me and Piquet pushed very hard and we gained a considerable advantage on the rest of the group. I'm quite satisfy about my final position, even if I was hoping for a victory, here. I want to thank team Menu for the superb job done: my car was really perfect".
RACE 1: Robert Doornbos RETIRED at lap 8(qualified 15th) FASTEST LAP
1:19.127 (at lap 6)
Piquet, Davidson, Watts, Asaro, Salignon, Dahlgreen, Thompson, Antinucci, Bremer, Keohane, Van der Merwe, Piccione, Viso, Kerr, Kane, Speed, Fauzy, Chandhok, Sherwood, Graves, Ramli, Shimoyama, Power -- RTD Hamilton, Doornbos, Green
RACE 2: Robert Doornbos position 2 (qualified 2nd)
Piquet, DOORNBOS, Green, Van der Merwe, Asaro, Dahlgreen, Davidson, Salignon, Antinucci, Bremer, Thompson, Watts, Fauzy, Kerr, Chandhock, Ramli, Power, Sherwood, Piccione, Shimoyama, Keohane, -- RTD Viso, Kane, Graves, Hamilton, Speed