TEAM BRM TO FIGHT FOR DOUBLE TITLES IN SEASON FINALE AFTER A WINNING WEEKEND AT PHILLIP ISLAND TEAM BRM has three drivers fighting for two championships ahead of the final round of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship following...
TEAM BRM TO FIGHT FOR DOUBLE TITLES IN SEASON FINALE AFTER A WINNING WEEKEND AT PHILLIP ISLAND
TEAM BRM has three drivers fighting for two championships ahead of the final round of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship following the penultimate round held at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria.
Team BRM drivers James Winslow and Nathan Caratti both have a shot at clinching the Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star whilst Team BRM's National Class entry, driven by Irish driver Lee Farrell, will be hoping to swoop on F3s ‘race within a race'.
Team BRM has won two titles in the same year once before, when Karl Reindler (outright) and Nic Jordan (Trophy) won both Australian F3 classes in 2004.
A storming run from third-round driver John Magro saw him race with the leaders throughout the weekend and score a top four finish in race one.
The biggest story of the weekend was the return to the top of the table of James Winslow, who won the first race and finished a narrow second in the other to leap from third to first in the Australian Drivers Championship.
Winslow qualified strongly but had a setback in the first session that cost him pole - an engine expiring after just five laps.
He bounced back to score the top spot for race two before passing Leanne Tander on the final lap of the first race on Sunday to take the lead and his fourth win of the year. In race two he was leading early before an off in difficult conditions slipped him to fifth place - before he charged though the field in the final two laps to minimise the damage with second place.
Winslow also scored the fastest lap in each race and now leads the championship by one point with just two races to go.
A key performance from National Class driver Lee Farrell saw him do more than enough to ensure that the National Class title will be decided in the final round.
In wet conditions Farrell won both National Class races at the weekend and reduced the margin to the class leader to 34 points, with 44 available in the final round.
North Queensland driver John Magro returned to the seat of the #3 Team BRM / Rockstar Energy / Unit Clothing Dallara at the weekend and posted his best F3 performance and came close to finishing on the outright podium.
After twice qualifying fourth on Saturday - just half a second from pole position - Magro raced with the leading group in both races and finished fourth in race one, his best ever F3 race finish. In race two he was involved in a massive dice for third position and only missed out on the podium result by .18s.
And whilst three of Team BRMs four had strong weekends, former championship leader Nathan Caratti literally had the weekend from hell when he failed to finish race one and only scored a single point from the second.
After starting second for both races, Caratti was running inside the top three in race one when - in wet conditions - he spun and made hefty contact with the tyre barrier on the high-speed run before the Hayshed.
The team worked hard to get the car back on track for race two and Caratti was again running strongly before an off track excursion lost him a lap and dropped him to last place - giving him just one championship point and dropping him 29 behind the series leader but the West Aussie remains well and truly in the hunt.
"The whole team is behind Nathan, Lee and James ahead of the final round of the championship," Team BRM manager Mark Rundle said.
"It was a challenging weekend at Phillip Island but the whole team worked extremely hard over the event to give our drivers the best possible chance and the results show it, save for Nathan's really tough weekend.
"To change an engine in James' car on Saturday and then get Nathan's car back out on track and in excellent condition for race two took a lot of effort and it's a credit to the crew and the hard work they put in.
"We're all looking forward to heading back to Tasmania and will be doing everything we can to help them achieve everything they can in the final round."
James Winslow - 1st (175 points)
"It could have been better had I not run off the track in race two, but overall it was a good weekend and got us back in front in the championship. It was a very unpredictable day and the conditions were quite tough but it was a good weekend overall and I'm going to give it the best shake I can at the final round."
Nathan Caratti - 3rd (146 points)
(On the Race one accident) : "I looked at some onboard footage from another car and it looked like I just dropped a wheel onto the white line and that sent the car around. I was actually carrying less throttle than the last lap, but that was that.
"In race two I just dropped a wheel off coming into Honda and once you were off the track it was like a swamp, so that really cost us. It's really frustrating because we've had the speed but only scored 18 points in the last two rounds. It's a long shot but anything can happen so we'll give it a go."
John Magro - 11th (36 points)
"It's been a great weekend, the car has been really good and I've been happy with the step forward I've taken as a driver. I'm really close to the pace now and felt like I could challenge for podium finishes, which we proved we could do in race two. It was a really close finish and I was just pipped at the line which was a bit frustrating - but it's been a great weekend.
"Thanks to Unit Clothing, Rockstar Energy drink and the team for the great weekend - hopefully I can raise the budget to come back and do more rounds now we know how competitive I can be."
Lee Farrell - 2nd in National Class
"Obviously we did everything we could possibly do this weekend to keep the championship alive into the final round. We had to come here and outscore Chris (Gilmour) and we did it with a couple of wins which was really good. We made the most of the wet conditions because I knew that if it was wet I'd probably have my best chance of winning.
"It's still a long shot and we're a fair way off the lead but as long as we have a chance we will go to Tasmania and give it a go."