BRATT TAKES HARD-FOUGHT FIFTH AT VALENCIA
British single-seater racer Will Bratt had to call on all of his determination during the ninth round of the FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship this morning, Sunday, 24th August, in order to secure a hard-fought top five finish at the impressive Valencia Street Circuit.
Qualifying an impressive second on the grid yesterday morning, just 0.018 seconds shy of pole position, the 20-year-old hoped for a highly successful run today in front of the Formula One team bosses at the European Grand Prix supporting F3 event.
While running in second position on the third lap of this morning's race, Will did try and seize the lead from pole-sitter Christian Ebbesvik but the move couldn't quite stick and the Banbury-based driver lost momentum and positions as a result.
Fighting back into the top five, the EmiliodeVillota.com Motorsport racer was disappointed to miss out on the podium but he still showed yet another good account of his pace and racecraft during only the ninth race of his maiden season of F3 competition.
Speaking after this morning's outing, Will said: "I'm really disappointed not to have finished on the podium this weekend. I wanted a better result, for me and the team, and we clearly had the pace to win but it just didn't work out for us unfortunately. Fifth is ok, I feel I raced pretty well but it's not the finish I'd hoped for after qualifying so well on Saturday.
"It was quite difficult to overtake, I thought I had a chance to grab the lead from (Christian) Ebbesvik on the third lap as he wasn't pulling away but it didn't quite work out. The delay cost me a couple of positions and compromised the rest of the race really."
Following overnight rain, parts of the track were still damp at the start of this morning's F3 encounter and particularly on the even-numbered side of the grid where Will started from second position.
With the lack of grip making it tricky to get away, Will still managed to make a reasonable start and although slipping to third initially he did make his way back into second before pressuring Ebbesvik for the race lead.
Following a brief Safety Car period early on, Will saw an opportunity to try and make a pass on lap three but Ebbesvik held on and the loss of momentum saw the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star drop behind Nelson Panciatici and Roberto Merhi.
Slipping to sixth at one stage, Will did fight back into the top five and then spent the remainder of the race relentlessly attempting to find a way past Nicola De Marco who managed to just stay ahead and rebuff the immense pressure Will was applying -- easily one of the highlight battles of the race.
"That's the way things go sometimes", added Will, "It's a shame not to have finished in the top three but it's been a great weekend to be involved in and I must thank the team for giving me a great car and working very hard as always. After the recent disappointments we've had in Spanish F3, to take away a top five isn't all that bad."
There is now a four-week break in the FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship calendar ahead of the next two rounds of the season which will be held at Magny-Cours in central France, the home of the Formula One World Championship's French Grand Prix, over the weekend 20th/21st September.