HOME RACES FAIL TO BEAR FRUIT FOR MANOR MOTORSPORT Dinnington-based Manor Motorsport didn't have the happiest of homecomings at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent over the weekend, 5th/6th September, although the team does still retain fourth...
HOME RACES FAIL TO BEAR FRUIT FOR MANOR MOTORSPORT
Dinnington-based Manor Motorsport didn't have the happiest of homecomings at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent over the weekend, 5th/6th September, although the team does still retain fourth place in the entrant standings following rounds 13 and 14 of the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries.
On home soil for the only time this year, the Yorkshire squad hoped to witness a return to the podium for lead driver Roberto Merhi. However, a combination of bad luck and the well documented lack of overtaking opportunities for single-seaters at the short 1.2-mile track meant the team departed Kent without adding to its points totals in both the driver and team championships.
Saturday's 13th round had to be halted following a collision at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 13 involving championship leader Jules Bianchi and Tiago Geronimi as they fought over 11th place, both cars making heavy contact with the barriers on the outside of the corner.
Due to the length of time it took to extract both drivers from their cars and to clear the wreckage away, officials chose to postpone the resumption of the race until later in the afternoon to allow qualifying for the headline DTM touring car series to be held on schedule.
At the original start, Merhi lined up 13th on the grid with team-mate Ramos alongside him on row seven and Enrique back in 23rd position. All three Manor drivers enjoyed a good opening to the race and at the time of the red flags being shown Merhi was ninth, Ramos was 12th and Enrique was an excellent 17th -- the latter having gained six places on his starting position.
The race resumed with the order as was at the time of the earlier abandonment and the re-start came behind the Safety Car. Little changed over the remaining 18 minutes of racing with Merhi ninth, frustratingly a mere seven 10ths of a second behind eighth-place which would have given him the reverse grid pole position for Sunday's encounter. Ramos finished 11th and Enrique stayed 17th.
Round 14 on Sunday was another Safety Car-affected encounter with two separate cautionary periods. Spanish star Merhi lined up in ninth position, Ramos was 11th on the grid and Enrique started in 17th place.
Ramos enjoyed a strong run inside the top 10 early on but he was forced to retire at mid-distance after being involved in a collision with Adrien Tambay and Jake Rosenzweig . Merhi achieved a hard fought 11th place after dropping down the order early on while Enrique finished in 17th position.
Television highlights of the Brands Hatch races will be screened in the UK on Sky Sports Xtra at 15.00 tomorrow, Monday, 7th September. Please check listings for further details of repeat screenings.
British F3 return for Manor next weekend
While there are two weeks to wait until rounds 15 and 16 of the 2009 F3 Euroseries take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain on 19th/20th September, Manor Motorsport will actually be back on track just five days from now when the team makes its long-awaited return to the British Formula 3 International Series.
Six years since the squad last competed in British F3, former champions Manor will field a brace of cars for Roberto Merhi and Pedro Enrique during the category's visit to the Autodromo Internacional Algarve in Portimao, Portugal.