A tumultuous weekend in Batangas In Batangas on the Philippines Frederic Vervisch had a tumultuous weekend. On the bumpy and very dangerous Batangas Racing Circuit, Vervisch was again a class of his own, but again he got a hard time. Four...
A tumultuous weekend in Batangas
In Batangas on the Philippines Frederic Vervisch had a tumultuous weekend. On the bumpy and very dangerous Batangas Racing Circuit, Vervisch was again a class of his own, but again he got a hard time.
Four races were scheduled for this weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. During qualifying for race 1, the battery of Frederics Dallara F304- Tom's Toyota broke down. "All of a sudden I came to a halt in the middle of the track and after a long stop, I finally reached the pits. After the intervention of my mechanics, I was able to drive one fast lap which was enough to qualify second on the grid", the 21-year-old Belgian driver told after qualifying.
But in the first race, which was held in wet conditions, the driver of Team Goddard encountered Hamad Al Fardan, who pushed Frederic off the track like in Sepang. Freds Dallara landed in the gravel and after some overtaking manoeuvres, he finished on the third podium spot. The second race was held in the same conditions. Frederic put race leader Al Fardan under pressure all the time, but the driver from Bahrain closed the door every time. Finally, Frederic forced his opponent into an error and overtook him, thus taking his third victory of the season.
The starting order of race 3 was based on the results from the first two races. As he finished 3rd and 1st, Fred was credited with three points and therefor started from second place on the grid, next to Al Fardan.
But at the end of the installation lap, an unexpected incident happened. While he was taking up his grid position, Fred was suprised by a broken cable of the powershift. "I slid a few inches past my grid slot. I reacted immediately and selected reverse gear before everyone came to a halt for the start", Frederic explained.
His rivals deemed this move to be against the rules and after the race, which was convincingly won by Frederic, they took action. Ultimately the race direction disqualified Vervisch. "This is incomprehensible", said the astounded Team Goddard driver. "For something like this, the race director can't disqualify me. My rivals also claim that I made a jump start, which is of course absolute nonsense. Therefor I appealed against this decision from the stewards. If they reject my appeal, I go to the International Court of Appeal of the FIA. We will do everything to get our victory back, as we are confident we didn't make a mistake."
After race 3, there was a long discussion with the race director, which resulted in Frederic almost being to late for the start of race 4. "I wasn't able to prepare myself for that race, as I spent a lot of energy in that discussion", said Vervisch.
Frederic Vervisch hit back at his concurrents in race 4. Following the disqualification, he had to start the race from the back end of the grid. After a magnificent start, Fred had already climbed up to fourth position in the first turn. On the same lap, he overtook Howson and on the next lap it was Niall Quinn who had to let Frederic pass him. In the end also Al Fardan had to back off.
Frederic now has to wait until the race direction reaches its final verdict about the result of race 3. If the disqualification is upheld, Frederic will take the matter to the International Court of Appeal of the FIA.
"In spite of the events off the track, I had a nice weekend. I had to fight very hard for these victories and that makes them even nicer. Of course I have to thank everyone at Team Goddard for their commitment, because it's thanks to them that we were able to perform so well. The weekend could have seen a different ending without their intervention during qualifying", Frederic concluded.
The next races of the Asian Formula 3 Championship won't take place in Chennai (India) on 9 and 10 February. The teams will visit Batangas again a week later
The new year also sees the appearance of Frederics new website. In the course of next week his new website will be online.