Asaro victorious in F3 debut Billy Asaro tasted victory in his first outing in the British Formula Three Scholarship Championship today. The twenty-year-old Canadian from Unionville, Ontario, finished nearly thirteen seconds ahead of ...
Asaro victorious in F3 debut
Billy Asaro tasted victory in his first outing in the British Formula Three Scholarship Championship today. The twenty-year-old Canadian from Unionville, Ontario, finished nearly thirteen seconds ahead of Denmark's Jesper Carlsen in a race at Brands Hatch.
Racing in the Scholarship Class, for year-old cars, Asaro finished a remarkable eleventh overall, ahead of many Championship Class cars which use the latest technology. He started turning heads from the moment he rolled out for practice on Friday, lapping faster than two-thirds of the 21 Championship Class drivers. He continued to show strongly during qualifying on Saturday, topping his class as the grid was set for the first of two of races scheduled for the extended Easter weekend. However, hopes of a perfect weekend were shelved when Asaro's car ground to a halt just seconds after exiting the pitlane for the second qualifying session. Something broke in the gearbox and when the car was towed back to the pits several minutes later, there wasn't enough time to make repairs. With no recorded lap, Asaro's name sank to the bottom of grid for race two.
"There's not really a good time to have something break on the car," Asaro said. "But, it was very unfortunate that I didn't even get around to set a time. On the other hand, it's better than having a problem during a race. I'm disappointed, but I can't complain because we've been fast since the first practice session. Sweeney Racing is doing a great job and I'm fortunate to be with this team."
Any disappointment from the qualifying setback was washed away by today's win, but despite the rapid pace and consistency he'd shown on the 4.2km (2.6 miles) circuit, Asaro admitted he was nervous before the fifteen-lap race, particularly regarding the start. Having raced in a US-based series for the past two years, he had become accustomed to rolling starts and the Formula Three series utilizes a standing start.
"I haven't done a standing start for years," he recalled, "And that was on my mind. I was really happy to get a good start, but then the guy ahead of me didn't get away well and I nearly spanked him. I got around him, but it cost me a few places."
Making the most of the balked start was team mate Adam Carroll who shot past to assume the lead of the Scholarship Class. Asaro got to work making up ground and, soon enough, all that remained between them was a couple of Championship Class cars. Asaro began to wonder if he might reclaim the lead that was knocked from his grasp at the start, but even if he did dispatch the intervening cars, passing a team mate is tricky at best. Today, however, that situation was averted when Carroll was eventually sidelined by a throttle problem.
"I felt bad for Adam and for the team because we were heading for a one-two finish," said Asaro. "For me, it was like an even-up for what happened at the start, but it was unfortunate that it was Adam's loss that gave me my payback.
"This is the best way for me to start the season," he continued. "The win says a lot for Sweeney Racing. Everyone on the team works very hard, it's a group effort and I think we've done well to be ahead of so many cars in the Championship Class. It's a good feeling and I'm confident we're going to have a successful season."
With win number one in his pocket, Asaro will face a bigger challenge tomorrow when he starts from the back of a field that numbers more than thirty. His competitors will not be comforted by the fact that he can win no-matter where he starts as he proved more than once last year in US Formula 2000 competition. Tomorrow's start is scheduled for 2:55pm GMT.