Asaro fourth at Rockingham. Toronto, Canada (July 22, 2002): Billy Asaro took a fourth-place finish from a pair of British Formula Three Scholarship Class races at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northamptonshire, England, yesterday. The ...
Asaro fourth at Rockingham.
Toronto, Canada (July 22, 2002): Billy Asaro took a fourth-place finish from a pair of British Formula Three Scholarship Class races at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northamptonshire, England, yesterday. The twenty-year-old Canadian, from Unionville, Ontario, was primed for racing following a break in the schedule and a trip home to visit friends and family.
Asaro's return to the UK, however, got off to an inauspicious start when, following practice sessions on Friday, it was discovered that the carbon-fibre chassis of his car had fatigued and cracked. A trip back to his Sweeney Racing team's base to make repairs was impossible so the crew worked track-side to get the car ready for Saturday's qualifying sessions.
Rain arrived Saturday morning, but Asaro's day brightened considerably when his car was deemed safe and ready for action. The skilled Canadian made a splash early by setting the quick time, but was knocked back to third in the final moments of the session. The second qualifying session, held in dry conditions, yielded a fifth-place start for race two.
In the first of Sunday afternoon's races, Asaro started well, but so did several others and the opening laps were a slugfest. Asaro's car was hit repeatedly as drivers battled for position, but he was able to keep control and stay on the track. On lap three, however, he was hit from behind, spun around and hit again. His race was over.
"I got hit all over the place," reported Asaro. "At the back, in the side, at one point I even got sandwiched between two cars. Everyone was scrambling and you could tell something was going to happen. I just wanted to get away from it, but I kept getting hit and I couldn't go anywhere.
"The car wasn't too heavily damaged in the crash, but there was only three hours between races. The crew was incredible getting the car fixed, but there wasn't a minute to spare and they didn't have time to do some of the fine adjustments."
Looking rough around the edges, the car was ready to race, but, as Asaro would soon discover, it was slightly off balance. Once again, he started well and held fifth on the first lap. During the second trip around the 4.120-km (2.560-mile) course, Asaro gained two places, but was struggling for control as the tail of the car would not hold the road. Three laps later, he dropped back to fourth, but, with great reflexes and dogged determination, he was able to hang on to the position all the way to the end of the race.
"There was a lack of traction at the rear and it was difficult to accelerate out of the corners," said Asaro. ". It was challenging because the car wanted to spin around, but given how quickly the repairs had to be made, it's amazing that I even raced. I'm glad I was able to get a good finish because, the team worked so hard to get me out there. Once again, my hat is off to Sweeney Racing."
There is now a four-week break in the British Formula Three schedule, the next race coming August 17-18 at Oulton Park.
Billy Asaro's official website can be found at www.billyasaro.com.