F3

AUSF3: Astuti Motorsport Phillip Island summary

FIGHTING PERFORMANCE EARNS TRIMBLE A SECOND PLACE DOUBLE "It could've been much, much, worse," Astuti Motorsport's Michael Trimble mused at the end of a race meeting in which he was hampered by engine problems and dampened by wet weather, yet ...

FIGHTING PERFORMANCE EARNS TRIMBLE A SECOND PLACE DOUBLE

"It could've been much, much, worse," Astuti Motorsport's Michael Trimble mused at the end of a race meeting in which he was hampered by engine problems and dampened by wet weather, yet still scored a pair of second place finishes.

Round 3 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Phillip Island Raceway represented a fighting weekend from the Melbourne-based team and driver as they faced some unwanted challenges.

Trimble entered the weekend confident of continuing his strong form in 2006, which included a last-start win at Symmons Plains Raceway in the Kings Springs Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304.

It was in testing on Wednesday that engine problems first struck the team, limiting Trimble's track-time. The problems were rectified and Trimble conducted some productive running in Friday's practice sessions before the team turned their attention to qualifying on Saturday.

In Qualifying 1, Trimble set a time of 1:26.8075, before the engine issues returned and ended his session. The problems kept Trimble on the sidelines in the second session, leaving him with a front row start in Race 1, and a rear-of-grid starting position in Race 2.

"Friday was good, we had tyres that were caned so we were happy with where we were," said Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti.

"We knew the car was quick, and Michael was driving well, but unfortunately we had some engine problems that started in Qualifying 1 that ended our day on Saturday.

"There certainly would've been more time in it for us in Qualifying 1. It was there, we just had traffic and just as we started to get going, the problems came about. We certainly could've challenged for pole position, two-tenths is nothing."

The engine problems were rectified before Sunday's two races, the first of which was held in extremely wet conditions.

Despite an excellent start from the front row of the grid and an error-free drive, Trimble didn't have the optimal setup for the conditions and couldn't quite hold out Ben Clucas; finishing second by just 0.031 of a second having been pipped on the line.

In the second race, Trimble charged from the rear of the grid to be in second place by Lap 2. Setting the fastest race lap along the way, he made it a pair of second place finishes for the weekend.

"The wet weather was extremely challenging," said Trimble of the opening race. "We didn't have a proper wet weather setup on the car and it was absolutely diabolical to drive.

"Every lap, I was just hanging on. I usually love driving in the rain, but that race was really difficult. There was just no way we were ever going to hold Ben off.

"Then we went out for Race 2, started at the back of the grid, got up to second place by Lap 2, and ended up with the fastest lap by half of a second, so there are some positives to take from the weekend, but it wasn't the results we wanted. We had to push really hard and do everything right just to get these second places.

"We've looked at the data and the engine problems cost us quite a bit of time in Qualifying 1, so without them I think we would've had two pole positions and been in a much better position for today. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be."

After three of eight rounds, Michael Trimble maintains his second place position in the chase for the CAMS Gold Star. Next stop for the series is Mallala Raceway, in South Australia, on June 23-24.

-am-

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About this article
Series F3
Drivers Ben Clucas , Phillip Island