MANOR BULLISH AFTER CHAOTIC NORISRING WEEKEND Rounds five and six of the Formula 3 Euroseries at the Norisring over the weekend, 23rd/24th June, proved to be less than straight-forward for Manor Motorsport but the British team has taken many ...
MANOR BULLISH AFTER CHAOTIC NORISRING WEEKEND
Rounds five and six of the Formula 3 Euroseries at the Norisring over the weekend, 23rd/24th June, proved to be less than straight-forward for Manor Motorsport but the British team has taken many positivesfrom the third event of the season after some sparkling performances from the squad's four drivers.
With countless obstacles placed in the team's way throughout the weekend the event in Nuremberg, Germany, saw Manor come through adversity strongly after qualifying on Saturday proved particularly problematic with all four drivers starting outside the top 10.
Nonetheless, the 11th fastest time from Cyndie Allemann proved to be by far thestarlet's best ever F3 Euroseries qualifying run with a terrific lap of 50.157 seconds (165.082 km/h) placing her ahead of team-mates Yelmer Buurman, James Jakes and Franck Mailleux.
Unfortunately for Allemann, chances of her best ever race result were ruined when Edoardo Piscopo flew into the back of her Dallara-Mercedes early on after missing his braking point, forcing the Swiss driver into a bitterly disappointing retirement.
Jakes and Buurman, meanwhile, were able to shine in the inclement conditions with the Yorkshireman producing a great drive from 16th on the grid to finish in seventh place and thus secure a front-row start for Sunday's sixth round.
The Dutch star had an even more outstanding run. Although qualifying 12th on the grid, he was forced to start from 22nd and last position after it was necessary for Manor to change his engine and therefore incur a 10-place penalty. Scything his way through the order, Buurman raced to an eighth place finish and also secured pole for Sunday's race.
With the weather causing many problems in round five, few were hit as harshly as Mailleux who -- making the sensible decision to pit for wet-weather tyres part way through the race as conditions worsened -- was left very frustrated when championship organisers elected to call an end to the race in progress to allow heavy rain to clear.
Effectively trapping the Frenchman in the pits and losing him places, when the race was eventually re-started he would finish in 16th position. He would however start round six from 15th place rather than 16th after Sergey Afansiev was put to the back of the grid.
Jakes robbed of certain podium
Sunday's encounter saw Buurman miss out on the chance to secure his maiden victory but he did take a fourth place finish less than two seconds shy of the podium. Jakes, meanwhile, had to produce another searing drive through the order when shunted out of second position by Sebastien Buemi. He fought back superbly from 15th to finish in fifth.
Mailleux enjoyed better fortune, climbing through from 15th on the grid to a competitive eighth place finish but for Allemann it was disappointment once more when she was forced out of the race on lap three.
"There were a lot of positives to come from the weekend", said Manor team owner John Booth in reflection, "Cyndie enjoyed her best ever qualifying performance but that ended up being ruined when (Edoardo) Piscopo went straight over the back of her car when he missed his braking point.
"In general we did struggle a bit in qualifying but in the races it was different. Yelmer needed an engine change after qualifying and so had to take a 10 place drop on the grid, so to come through from the back to eighth position was a phenomenal performance and also meant he had pole for race two.
"Jakesy had to fight his way through like Yelmer from a low grid start so he did well and a possible win and almost certain podium went begging in race two after (Sebastien) Buemi punted him off when he was running in second place. Again, he fought back brilliantly from 15th to finish in fifth with a superb effort."
Booth added: "Franck had terrible misfortune in the first race, he lost out through no fault of his own and I can't say I agree too much with the decision to stop the race as I don't think the rain was that bad. Cyndie did a great job in qualifying and she needs to take all of the positives from that, the races were just really unfortunate for her."
Manor has now travelled directly from the Norisring to France in order to prepare for the most high-profile event on the 2007 F3 Euroseries calendar, the seventh and eighth rounds of the season at Magny-Cours as support to this weekend's French Grand Prix.
Supporting the Formula One World Championship is obviously a huge opportunity and will be particularly special for Franck Mailleux as it will mark his only chance of the year to compete on home soil.