F3

AUSF3: Charlie Hollings Oran Park race report

HOLLINGS WINS AGAIN AND TAKES THIRD IN AUSTRALIAN F3 CHAMPIONSHIP The Kumho Tyres Australian F3 championship was brought to a thrilling conclusion last weekend at Oran Park (3-4 November 2007), with British driver Charlie Hollings coming in...

HOLLINGS WINS AGAIN AND TAKES THIRD IN AUSTRALIAN F3 CHAMPIONSHIP

The Kumho Tyres Australian F3 championship was brought to a thrilling conclusion last weekend at Oran Park (3-4 November 2007), with British driver Charlie Hollings coming in third after a powerful win in the penultimate race. Australian Tim Macrow took the championship title, followed by Leanne Tander, but these results are still provisional pending an investigation into illegal testing sessions on Friday 2 November.

Charlie, racing for Astuti Motorsport, headed into the weekend in third place in the table. With an inevitable three way title fight on the cards between Macrow, Tander and Charlie, the Yorkshireman looked like the man to beat as he was fastest in the first official testing session of the weekend.

The first race saw Charlie get within inches of the cup as he came from third on the grid to first place on lap one, and then held this position until the chequered flag - bringing him within two points of the championship leader Tander. Season rivals Tander and Macrow started in first and second place respectively but the Yorkshireman got a great start and passed Tander on the run towards the first corner before slotting in behind Macrow into turn one. A decisive run out of the bend enabled Charlie to run alongside Macrow before passing him into turn three.

However, race two brought disappointment for the young Brit. Despite a great start which saw him get a good run on Tander, with Macrow alongside him on the outside, championship newcomer Barton Mawer moved aggressively across the track and pushed Charlie onto the grass -- leaving the British Bulldog in fifth place and out of the running for the championship title. After getting back on the track, Charlie managed to pass a car on the first lap to come home in fourth in the race, and third in the championship.

However, uncertainty hangs over the final positions as an investigation is underway following a protest that has been lodged about Macrow and Tander -- as they were spotted having extra track-time after official testing was finished.

When asked what he thought about the investigation, Charlie said, "I was in my hotel room on Friday afternoon when I got a phone call to say that Tim and Leanne were on the track by themselves, so I won't be surprised if they get penalised.

"However, whatever the outcome, we've had some great races and there's been very little to separate the three of us. It was great to win the first race on Sunday after being wheel to wheel with Tim - we have been hard competitors all year and it really set everybody up for a great final race. It was disappointing to then have my final chance of winning the title ruined by somebody who wasn't even in the championship fight, just because they had made a mess of their own start.

"I have had a fantastic time in Australia and I really want to say a huge 'thank you' to every member of my team. They have been excellent all year -- they've done a great job and they all deserved to win the championship for their hard work. I especially want to thank Sam (Astuti -- owner of Astuti Motorsport) for all his support; I am convinced we will see him win the championship in years to come!"

-credit: www.charleshollings.com

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