PODIUM FOR BUURMAN AT HOCKENHEIM F3 EURO SEASON FINALE
Manor Motorsport's Yelmer Buurman recorded a welcome podium finish over the weekend, 13th/14th October, at Hockenheim in Germany during the penultimate race of the 2007 Formula 3 Euroseries season.
Backing the result up with a top four finish in the second outing, the Dutchman continued where he left off at Nogaro in France a fortnight ago where he was also the highest scoring of Manor's four young racers.
Britain's sole team representative in the Formula 3 Euroseries, the Dinnington-based squad retained the runner-up spot in the entrant standings thanks to Buurman's efforts while for Franck Mailleux, Cyndie Allemann and, in particular, James Jakes, it didn't prove to be the most successful of weekends.
Having historically been strong at the famous German venue, hopes were high in the Manor camp of some good performances throughout the weekend but the one thing which was clear from the outset during the free practice on Friday was that Buurman would take some beating after topping the times with a lap of 1m 33.696 seconds.
British ace Jakes was fourth fastest, less than two 10ths of a second shy, while Mailleux was 14th and Allemann 16th. During Friday afternoon's qualifying session, the order remained the same although Buurman was only able to manage the third best time with Jakes eighth fastest, Mailleux 10th and Allemann 15th.
During the first of the weekend's races on Saturday, round 19 of the season, Buurman maintained his third position to make a welcome return to the podium, the Manor driver managing to withstand a fierce challenge from Kamui Kobayashi on the opening lap.
Frenchman Mailleux slipped one place to 11th and most disappointingly for him was that his chief rival in the battle for the rookie title, Edoardo Mortara, was sixth and in the points. Swiss starlet Allemann finished a lap down in 19th while Jakes was classified in 21st position after contact with Dani Clos' car a few laps from home.
Sunday's encounter saw Buurman start in sixth place, Maillleux in 11th, Allemann 19th and Jakes in 21st. Once again, the Dutchman looked impressive and took his second points finish of the weekend with a battling fourth place -- just 1.4 seconds shy of another podium result.
Mailleux enjoyed a good run to sixth to grab the final point but it was sadly not enough to claim the rookie crown, Mortara sealing the title with second position. Allemann and Jakes, meanwhile, both failed to finish.
Commenting on the weekend Manor Motorsport team boss John Booth said: "Yelmer did well in both races and deserved his podium in the first one but other than that we had a patchy weekend really which was very unfortunate. It was a shame Franck lost out where the rookie championship is concerned as he's had a terrific year.
"James endured a difficult weekend once again, he's had no luck over the last few rounds, and it was a similar story for Cyndie. At least we maintained the runner-up spot in the team championship which was obviously one of our chief aims."
In the final 2007 driver standings, Jakes ends the year as Manor's highest-scoring racer overall with 42 points in fifth position, two points ahead of sixth-placed Buurman with Mailleux another couple of points further adrift in seventh.
In the rookie standings, Mailleux ended the year as Vice-Champion with a total haul of 93 points -- just six points shy of the title -- and in the team standings Manor was once again Vice-Champion with 119 points.
Macau street spectacular next on the calendar for Manor Although the 2007 F3 Euroseries has now reached a conclusion, Manor Motorsport will be back in competitive action on 17th/18th November for the 54th staging of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, the annual Far Eastern event which -- alongside the BP Ultimate Masters -- is one of two blue riband events on the global F3 calendar.
Featuring the cream of driving talent from the best F3 championships across the globe, Macau's famous street circuit is renowned for providing unpredictable and entertaining action year-on-year. Planning to run four cars during this November's race, Manor will be hoping to repeat its win of 2005 which saw Lucas Di Grassi cement his place in history.
Talking of former Manor Motorsport drivers, Japanese sensation Kazuki Nakajima will make his Formula One race debut next weekend, 20th/21st October, during the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix as the replacement for recently retired Austrian racer Alexander Wurz at the Williams-Toyota team.
Competing in Manor colours last season in the F3 Euroseries, the Toyota-backed star raced to victory at the Lausitz EuroSpeedway and has this year been impressing in GP2 while also conducting F1 testing duties for Williams.