MAPELLI WINS FOR TEAM BRM! In just his tenth ever championship race start in a Formula 3 car 19-year-old Italian Team BRM driver Marco Mapelli has delivered his first race win in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship. In his most...
MAPELLI WINS FOR TEAM BRM!
In just his tenth ever championship race start in a Formula 3 car 19-year-old Italian Team BRM driver Marco Mapelli has delivered his first race win in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.
In his most competitive weekend yet, Mapelli delivered a stunning all-the-way performance in the second of two races at Sydney's Eastern Creek raceway to win his first race, and the South Australian teams' first since the opening round of the championship back in February.
Mapelli's win -- backed up with fourth place in race one -- also vaulted him into contention for the championship battle making it a five-way fight with three rounds to go.
Mapelli qualified fourth for the first race and was involved in a tight four-way dice for the lead that lasted all of the scheduled 14 laps. With two seconds covering first to fourth at the end, Mapelli secured a solid fourth place finish and, importantly, more points than his two nearest contenders in the championship battle.
His race two performance was even more impressive, however, making the most of a front row start and leaping into an early race lead -- crushing the field on the opening lap to lead by 1.5 seconds.
From there he consolidated the margin and then held off late-race pressure from Leanne Tander to cross the line and win by a little under eight-tenths of a second to record his first triumph in the championship.
Mapelli became the first non Australia / New Zealand or British driver to win a race in Australian Formula 3 championship history.
"It was a great race, it feels fantastic." Marco said after informing his father, in Italy, of the result.
"Phillip Island, Oran Park before this were OK but at Mallala I don't think we had very good tyres which is why we were slow on Friday here.
"When we put new tyres on the car went back to the way it used to be and was very good.
"I was able to make a good gap on the first few laps but lost a lot of that when I came to the lapped cars. The crew were always telling me the gap on the radio between first and second. I saw her (Tander) coming in the mirror and was able to make the margin bigger before the end." He explained.
Team BRM driver Stuart Kostera had an unfortunate weekend that was hindered, mainly, by airlines.
The cancellation of his flight from Perth Thursday meant that Kostera only arrived in Sydney during the second practice session on Friday.
A crash in the first few laps of qualifying one Saturday morning meant that his first meaningful laps were turned in the second qualifying session, where despite his limited track time he managed to put his #29 Audi Centre Melbourne car 8th on the grid, just 1.1s from pole.
He maintained that position to finish the first race; however a massive delay in the schedule due to a crash in another category meant that Kostera had to leave the circuit before the second event to ensure he made the last flight back to Perth.
Team BRM team manager Mark Rundle said that he was pleased to see Mapelli finally taste his first win.
"I think it's been a long time coming for Marco," Rundle said.
"We have been close with him a couple of times this season. He has shown from the very first time he sat in the car that he has what it takes to win in these cars and this weekend all of the pieces came together and he was able to.
"It's great for the team who have worked very hard all season long. We're very pleased for Marco and all his supporters here and in Italy and I know that it will be the first of many wins for him and for Team BRM this season." He said.
The next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held at Phillip Island on August 10 -- 12.
Team BRM has departed Sydney directly for Queensland where it will contest the next round of the Australian Formula Ford championship with John Magro and new driver Nick Percat in the teams Van Diemen RFO6 chassis.