Mawer Extends Championship Lead. Australian Barton Mawer has extended his National Class Championship lead in the 2005 British Formula 3 International Series this weekend at the Scottish track, Knockhill. His result this weekend was another in...
Mawer Extends Championship Lead.
Australian Barton Mawer has extended his National Class Championship lead in the 2005 British Formula 3 International Series this weekend at the Scottish track, Knockhill. His result this weekend was another in a string of consistently strong performances from Barton all season that has seen him lead the Championship from the start.
In a season that has been plagued by poor weather conditions, rain was again a factor this weekend, but Barton was able to make the most of poor conditions to pick up a second place finish, set the fastest lap and gain more valuable points in his class to extend his Championship lead.
Barton had qualified in 2nd place for race one and was looking forward to a close fight with Championship rivals, Hollings and Duran in the race. Unfortunately a downpour prior to the start to the race saw rivers of water running across the track making conditions almost undriveable. As at Spa where the weather forced both races to be abandoned, the safety car was sent out to inspect the track conditions prior to the start of the race to determine if it was safe for the race to go ahead. After much consideration the track was deemed safe.
In a very tough race, where visibility was at a minimum, Barton was fighting with the car to find any grip. From the start Barton was under pressure from behind from Duran. The pair were locked in a close battle, trading places a number of times before Duran was able to pull out a gap that Barton was unable to close. Barton was struggling to match the pace of those around him and in the closing stages of the race dropped to 4th place.
"Knockhill is a very short undulating track and this means that when the track is wet the spray tends to hang in the air making it very hard to see and making the driving conditions very difficult. It was the first time I had driven at Knockhill in the wet and we struggled for pace all race. It was very important for us to pick up more Championship points this weekend, so I am pleased that I was able to finish in 4th place despite our problems."
Race 2 was run in dry conditions with only a few damp patches remaining on the track and was a much more successful one for Barton. Starting slightly further back in the grid in 4th place, Barton made a good start was able to pass Fisher who had a problem on the start line.
In the opening laps Barton also passed Duran and was quickly on the tail of class leader Hollings, fighting for first place. Hollings was quicker in the first sector, but Barton was able to close right up on him in the final two sectors. Hollings and Barton were fighting for much of the race. With just a few laps remaining, Barton set the fastest lap of the race and was able to get right behind Hollings on the pit straight. Barton attempted to pass Hollings round the outside of turn one, but Hollings pushed him wide, forcing Barton off the track and into the gravel. Barton was able to rejoin the track without dropping a place, but Hollings had pulled out a lead that Barton was unable to close in the final couple of laps.
"That was a fantastic race! I really enjoyed fighting hard with Hollings, it was a shame I was squeezed wide, but I am happy with the 2nd place finish. Setting the fastest lap in this race is a great achievement for myself and my team, T-Sport, given how much we were struggling with pace in the first race. We have been consistently up the front of the class all year and that is what we need to do to win the Championship."
The next round of the series will be at Thruxton, next weekend, leaving the teams with very little turn around time. Barton has never raced there before, but he did test there earlier this year. This experience was very important, as the first session at the track will be Saturday's first qualifying session.