F3

AUSF3: Astuti Motorsport signs Pappas for 2006 finale

DANIEL PAPPAS JOINS ASTUTI MOTORSPORT FOR ORAN PARK FORMULA 3 SEASON FINALE Astuti Motorsport is pleased to announce Queensland driver Daniel Pappas will drive for the team in this weekend's 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for...

DANIEL PAPPAS JOINS ASTUTI MOTORSPORT FOR ORAN PARK FORMULA 3 SEASON FINALE

Astuti Motorsport is pleased to announce Queensland driver Daniel Pappas will drive for the team in this weekend's 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star season finale at Oran Park Raceway.

Pappas joins the Victorian-based squad having previously driven in the open-wheel class in 2004. In a partial season, he scored a pair of podium finishes, in addition to experience in the Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula Ford and a one-off drive in the Formula Atlantic Champ Car feeder class in 2004.

"I'm excited about getting back into a real race car with wings and slicks again," Pappas enthused. "The last time I was in a wings and slicks car was the Atlantic car at Laguna Seca in America in 2004.

"That was awesome to drive, so I'm looking forward to getting back in a similar style of car, and seeing what these newer spec F3 cars are like, because I haven't driven them yet."

The 25 year-old has raced at Oran Park a number of times and was on-track for a podium finish in Formula 3's last visit to the circuit in 2004, before being taken out of contention by a rival.

"I feel confident," he said. "The main goal is just to have some fun in a car that turns in. I think we've got a good chance and it's a good car.

"I love Oran Park, but I've never really been quick there. I enjoyed it in the Cup Car more so than I have before, which is why I'm excited about it; to try and go quickly around there in an F3 car.

"There'll be a bit of knowledge I can bring over from '04 when I raced there in Formula 3. I know the characteristics of the car and what they do. It's like any race car, you hop in and just push it to it's limit. The main thing this weekend will be finding that limit again after not having driven an open wheeler for a little while."

With support from DiBella Coffee, he will drive the Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 steered earlier this year by Michael Trimble, who is focusing on plans to race in British Formula 3 next year after a successful recent test with Championship-winning squad Raikkonen-Robertson Racing.

"We're looking forward to working with Daniel this weekend, he has shown previously that he is quick in these cars," said Astuti Motorsport owner Sam Astuti.

"We tested with Michael there strongly a couple of months ago after the Eastern Creek round. This current generation of cars haven't raced there before, but by the end of the day we had a good starting point for setup for this weekend, and we were setting what we believe will be competitive times.

In the seven rounds completed to date in 2006, the team has scored two race wins with Trimble, who also finished on the podium 12 times from his 14 starts.

"We've had a good year," said Astuti. "Michael is second in the series, finished on the podium in nearly every race, got a couple of wins, and in Queensland Andy Knight got a podium as well.

"Hopefully this weekend with Daniel we can end the year on a strong note."

Pappas' first drive of the #10 DiBella Coffee Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 will be in Friday's practice sessions. After qualifying on Saturday, he will join the field in Sunday's pair of 15-lap races.

-credit: www.astutimotorsport.com.

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Series F3