Pettit smashes Batangas Lap record in drama-filled Asian F3 finale,
Pettit smashes Batangas Lap record in drama-filled Asian F3 finale, whilst Jones takes title!
Team BRM's John Pettit created a massive impact at the final round of the 2004 Asian Formula 3 championship in the Philippines last week, storming through the field in both races and smashing the Batangas Circuit lap record by over a second.
After struggling for balance early in the weekend and missing out on valuable testing miles due to a Typhoon passing over the race track, team BRM focussed on finding a good race set-up for the 21 year old New South Wales based driver, who eventually qualified 9th on the technical 3.4km Batangas layout.
After dropping as low as 12th during the opening lap of the first race dur to a tardy start, Pettit proved that the work in the Qualifying session had paid off as he cut a swathe through the field to storm into the top 5 by race end.
Pettit's progress was one of the main points of interest in the race, which saw him set the fastest lap, and earn the race broadcaster's "Driver of the Race" award -- an impressive achievement for a series' debutant.
Starting from fifth in race two, Pettit gained two places after the start due to the controversial incident between the leaders -- giving him an even better opportunity to chase the leaders. And chase he did -- moving into second before homing in on the race leader, who had established a substantial lead.
The team BRM Dallara closed at over half a second a lap, taking a second out of the track record in the process. However, after challenging for the lead Pettit ran off the circuit at the notorious 180kph "Brian's Corner" after hitting a bump, prematurely ending what had been an incredible display.
"It was great that we were able to put a top young Aussie in the car to show how strong we really are." Enthused team BRM Asia engineer Craig Rundle.
"We just couldn't get the car right in Qualifying - we couldn't get the gearing and balance right because we lost so much track time with the Typhoons. But we knew we had a great race set-up."
"But John's racing ability and willingness to have a go really impressed the entire Asian Formula 3 fraternity. They are certainly keen to get him back next season, and so are we." He said.
Meanwhile, Fellow Aussie Christian Jones wrapped up the Asian Formula 3 championship despite a controversial start line incident with John O'Hara that eliminated Jones from the final race. O'Hara was fined US$10,000 for the incident, whilst Jones took the series crown by just five points. team BRM congratulates Jones on his excellent season.
Ananda Mikola, who drove with team BRM earlier this season in China, won the round.