BULLER LEADS FORTEC CHALLENGE AT MACAU Northern Irish racer Will Buller endured a baptism of fire on his first Formula 3 outing with Fortec Motorsport after finishing 15th in the end of season Macau Grand Prix. Having signed up with Fortec for...
BULLER LEADS FORTEC CHALLENGE AT MACAU
Northern Irish racer Will Buller endured a baptism of fire on his first Formula 3 outing with Fortec Motorsport after finishing 15th in the end of season Macau Grand Prix.
Having signed up with Fortec for his second season of British F3 next year, Macau gave Will the opportunity to make an early debut for his new team at the scene of stunning Formula BMW victory twelve months ago.
The 18-year-old from Scarva was hopeful that the experience gained in 2009 would put him in a good shape for his first F3 race at the challenging street circuit, and his weekend started well when he was 15th quickest of the 30 drivers in the first free practice session.
Will then improved on that position during the first qualifying session as he posted the 13th fastest lap; just behind British F3 title winner Jean-Eric Vergne. However, following the session it was revealed that Will was one of seven drivers who would be forced to take a five place grid penalty for a yellow flag infringement.
After finishing 18th in the second practice session, Will went into second qualifying keen to try and maximise his grid position for the first race of the weekend; which would be used to decide the grid for the main event.
However, Will was caught out by the tricky circuit and went into the barriers before he had set a quick lap, which meant he was left with the 24th quickest lap on the combined times. With his penalty applied, Will was left with two challenging races ahead from the final row of the grid.
Avoiding an accident ahead at the high-speed Mandarin Bend on the first lap of the qualifying race, Will made up places to run inside the top 20 and took the chequered flag in 19th place -- putting him in the same position for the Grand Prix itself.
Again avoiding an incident at the start of the main race, Will's forward progress continued in what would ultimately be a 15 lap encounter and he finished the race in 15th place.
"We lacked some pace during the weekend, and while the end result is ultimately disappointing, there are also things we can take away from Macau," he said. "I had a throttle issue during practice which put me under pressure a touch and the penalty in qualifying was a bit of a shock that meant the races were always going to be tough.
"Apart from the long straights, you can't overtake around the majority of the lap in Macau, and the set-up we had for the two races wasn't quite right. With that in mind, to come from the back of the grid to finish the final in 15th isn't a bad result.
"We can see where we need to improve and F3 was always a two-year programme for me. My first year is now at an end and my focus is on fighting for the British F3 in 2011 and then coming back to Macau to challenge for victory."
Although he had gone into the weekend hoping to fight higher up the order, Will's first F3 outing in Macau saw him secure top honours amongst the British drivers taking part in the race, while he was also highest placed of the three Fortec drivers.