F3

AUSF3: Astuti Motorsport Albert Park preview

ASTUTI MOTORSPORT READY FOR ALL-OUT ALBERT PARK ATTACK There will be no championship points on the line in this weekends Dodo Formula 3 races at the Fosters Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, but that doesn't mean Astuti Motorsport will be taking...

ASTUTI MOTORSPORT READY FOR ALL-OUT ALBERT PARK ATTACK

There will be no championship points on the line in this weekends Dodo Formula 3 races at the Fosters Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, but that doesn't mean Astuti Motorsport will be taking it easy.

The Melbourne-based squad has worked tirelessly since the opening round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star three weeks ago to ensure that team driver Michael Trimble will be a contender.

"Since Wakefield Park, we have been working flat-out to get the car right for the Grand Prix, " says team-owner Sam Astuti. "It hasn't stopped, it's been full-on.

"We have made a lot of changes to the car and Michael and I are quite focused on winning there. We have made improvements where they needed to be improved and we are going to be strong."

Although Trimble scored a pair of podium finishes in the opening round of the championship at Wakefield Park, and currently sits second in the standings, it wasn't the best of weekends.

"Wakefield Park was a really difficult weekend for us," Trimble explains. "We didn't have our engineer there with us on the Friday and that hurt us a bit. We couldn't find an ideal setup on the Friday which put us right on the back foot for Saturday and we were pretty much just trying to recover the whole way from there.

"We were fortunate to end up second overall, but I was disappointed with our pace and it was a very tough weekend."

Despite the frustration during the weekend, it has turned out to be far from a wasted weekend, says Trimble.

"We certainly learnt a lot over the Wakefield weekend," said the 21-year old. "We were making lots of changes to the car over the whole weekend and afterwards, Sam, our engineer James and I all sat down with the data and just went through every aspect of it.

"What we did, what happened when we did, so as much as Wakefield Park was a tough and disappointing weekend for us, it was quite beneficial in terms of what we learnt.

"We've been able to come away with a lot of good knowledge which we think we can put into effect at the Grand Prix and hopefully be much stronger."

As a Melbournian, the Grand Prix is understandably always a weekend Trimble looks forward to. While he has never raced in Formula 3 at the Albert Park layout, Trimble has some strong results there to his name; in 2004, he finished second in the Formula Ford support races.

"The Grand Prix is a really great weekend," Trimble enthused. "I look forward to it every year, even if I'm not going to be racing there.

"It is a fantastic weekend. I love the track, it's a track that certainly suits my driving style a lot more than Wakefield, and it's a weekend where I feel really comfortable and confident I can do well at.

"We've got four races this year, four opportunities to get up on the podium, I'll be hoping to get onto the top step for each one of them."

Formula 3 action at the Grand Prix commences on Thursday, with practice, qualifying and the opening eight-lap race. There will also be a race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

One week later, the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star re-commences at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania, ensuring a quick turnaround for the teams in the series.

-am-

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Series F3