ASMER BOUNCES BACK FOR HITECH AFTER NON-FINISH

Hitech Racing's Marko Asmer once again proved that he is the man to beat in the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula Three International Series when he came back from a non-finish in the first race of the weekend to record his fifth victory of the season in round eight of the series.

Asmer's team-mate, Walter Grubmuller, drove a superb first race. After stalling on the grid he was forced to start from the back of the field. A fantastic -- but frustrating -- drive through the pack allowed the Austrian to get back into his original position of 15th by the chequered flag.

Estonian Asmer's first race ended prematurely while lying in fourth place when he picked up a puncture, putting him out of the race, his first non-finish of the season.

In race two, Marko was able to take advantage of pole position and shot away from the rest of the grid. Even a safety car period wasn't enough to unsettle the championship leader, who led the entire field home by just over one-and-a-half seconds to step onto the top step of the podium for the fifth time this season.

Grubmuller lost two places as the lights went out at the start of the second race. However, he was able to make up the places once again and move himself further up the order into 13th place. Despite the safety car putting him in a position to move up further, he was unable to get close enough once racing had restarted to gain another place.

Despite Asmer extending his championship lead by one point, it was a weekend of frustrations for the Silverstone based team.

"We started the weekend off on the back foot slightly with a gearbox problem on Walter's car," said team principal David Hayle. "Then, to have Marko get a puncture while he was in fourth place and challenging for third was incredibly frustrating."

"It was the perfect result for him to come back with in race two though. It has moved him ahead another point in the standings, but it should really have been more. The problem we've put ourselves in, is that we expect to go out and win," he added.

"It has been a difficult weekend for me," said Grubmuller. "I was hoping to score some good points in the first race and I stalled on the grid, meaning that I had to come from the back. I had really good speed, which allowed me to get back up the field. But I should have been working my way up into the points, which is even more frustrating," he added.

"In the second race I got passed at the start but was able to quickly make up the places again. It was a hard race and the safety car helped me to close up on the guys ahead of me. But, I was never in a position to challenge them," he added.

"It was a bad first race for me," said Asmer. "I felt the tyre start to go down the lap before I came in, but by the time I had got back to the pits to the team I was out of contention for points and I immediately started thinking about saving my tyres for the second race, which was important."

"It was good to win race two and I'm really happy with the result. But, although we have moved just a little bit ahead in the points, I know that by taking a third or fourth in race one it would have been more," he added.

-credit: hr