Gilmour Battles Adversity At The Island Gilmour Racing has had a very difficult start to 2005, and in many respects, this trend continued at round three of the 2005 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Philip Island. The team...
Gilmour Battles Adversity At The Island
Gilmour Racing has had a very difficult start to 2005, and in many respects, this trend continued at round three of the 2005 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Philip Island. The team enjoyed a strong result in the first race, but had a rare mechanical failure in race two. After the second round of the championship at Mallala, Chris Gilmour had sat in fifth place in the championship standings with 32 points. After Philip Island, Chris Gilmour continues to lay in fifth place in the championship, but leaves with 42 points, and a lot more wisdom for later use in the season.
To say that Philip Island is a difficult circuit is an understatement. The track is characterised by incredibly fast corners, such as turn one 'Doohan' and the turn eight 'Hayshed', and slow corners such as turns four and ten. The track has a number of elevation changes, and wind always plays a factor with Philip Island being located right next to the Bass Straight. Simply put, the circuit is a nightmare if one wants to find a good set-up. With that in mind, this was also the first time that Chris Gilmour and Gilmour Racing had visited the circuit. Consequently, the team spent both of Friday's 30-minute sessions getting to grips with the circuit.
In the first session, Gilmour was busy learning his lines and braking points, and completed 18 laps of the 4.4km circuit. Chris set a fastest lap time of 1:29.5915min, which placed him seventh in the session standings.
The second session saw Gilmour Racing improve two positions, finishing the session in fifth. Chris completed 9 laps, and setting a best lap of 1:29.5831min.
In qualifying for Sunday's first race, Gilmour Racing was still coming to grips with the Philip Island circuit. Chris Gilmour completed 13 laps in the session, more than any other driver, and set a fastest lap time of 1:27.8201min. The time was good enough to place Gilmour in fifth on the grid.
The second session did not go well. To try to fix solve some setup issues from first qualifying, the crew made changes to the wing settings, and also altered the front shock absorbers. Unfortunately these changes only made the car handle worse, and Chris Gilmour was left unsettled on a track where rhythm is vital. Chris set a best lap time of 1:28.5252min, which would place him in seventh place on the race 2 grid.
Chris Gilmour got a good start when the lights went out. However, he was passed by Chris Alajajian, dropping him into sixth position. For the first half a dozen laps Gilmour hung-on to the leading pack, and on the seventh lap Alajajian came unstuck, and drove off the circuit, promoting Chris into fifth position.
As the race continued, the field slowly strung-out, and Chris was left in a comfortable fifth place. He remained in fifth until the last turn of the last lap, when Gilmour's returning old foe, Karl Reindler, spun, which allowed Chris to slip home in fourth position. The fourth place result gave Chris Gilmour a further 10 points to his championship tally.
Ahead of the second race, the team made some setup changes, and felt confident of a strong showing in the race. The race did not begin to plan when Chris Gilmour got a tardy start, and dropped to eighth position. For the next half a dozen laps, Gilmour had a thrilling battle with Leanne Ferrier-Tander. On lap 5, Tim Macrow ran off, and moved Gilmour into seventh place. The Gilmour-Tander battle drew to a close on lap six, when Chris Gilmour made a hair-raising move up the inside of turn one at over 250-kilometres an hour, moving Chris into sixth position.
The race drew to sudden and terrifying close for Gilmour on the next lap, as he was closing up on Ricky Occhipinti. Going into the second corner at around 240-kilometres an hour, the push-rod in the master cylinder failed, leaving Gilmour with no brakes. To try to stop the car, Chris Gilmour had to fling the car sideways to try to scrub-off some speed, and hopefully avoid hitting the tyre barriers. The car spun three times, but thankfully it came to halt in the sand trap before hitting anything solid, and unlike at the Grand Prix in March, and Chris Gilmour and the car were unscathed in the incident. The team was disappointed with the rare car failure, as they felt they would have been able to finish the race in fourth position.
Round three of the 2005 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Philip Island was a difficult weekend for Gilmour Racing, but a good learning experience. While the team left without the results they wanted, the championship visits Philip Island again for round 6 in August. The team have learnt valuable lessons on how to set-up the car, and Chris Gilmour left Philip Island with the impression that it is the best circuit in Australia, and with some knowledge of the track.
Chris Gilmour added 10 points to his championship tally, for a total of 42 points. Chris continues to sit in fifth position in the standings, however he is now only 1 point away from Michael Caruso and fourth position.
Gilmour Racing now looks forward to the fourth round of the Australian Formula 3 Championship at their home event, Queensland Raceway at Willowbank. The team is confident of good results, after some very strong pre-season testing at the track. Prior to round 4, Gilmour Racing will also test for the first time since the season began.
For their support, Gilmour Racing would like to thank Identity Plus, PM Lubricants, Revolution Racegear and Gilmour Developments.