Formula 3 newbies start well SG Formula were able to celebrate their first good result in the opening event of the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series. Although Tom Dillmann and Henki Waldschmidt came away empty-handed, Yann Clairay put in a ...
Formula 3 newbies start well
SG Formula were able to celebrate their first good result in the opening event of the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series. Although Tom Dillmann and Henki Waldschmidt came away empty-handed, Yann Clairay put in a workmanlike performance throughout the meeting, the highlight being an excellent 5th spot in race 2.
The team from La Rochelle knew that their debut in the Euro Series was not going to be easy. This is a class which has a reputation for being hotly contested and even more so this season. Some top-rated teams have joined the paddock as engine specialist VW-Spiess attempts to wrestle supremacy from Mercedes-HWA. For the drivers it's the same story, the cream of international motor racing's up and coming talent is taking part. The weather conditions conspired to make the task even more complicated. "We arrived in Hockenheim not knowing what to expect, never having raced here in Formula Renault 2.0," said team-manager Stephane Guerin. "On the other hand, for our rivals this was home territory, because they have been coming here twice a year since the championship was inaugurated. The weather wasn't on our side either; we only managed to get in a couple of laps of practice in the dry!"
Although the spectators in the stands were to enjoy the sun during Saturday and Sunday's racing, Friday's qualifying practice had to be abandoned due to torrential rain. The next morning the track still had some damp patches. Dutchman Henki Waldschmidt got his Dallara-Mercedes up to 13th position, while team-mates Francais Yann Clairay and Tom Dillmann, who were having braking problems, qualified in 16th and 25th place respectively.
Poor Henki Waldschmidt won the weekend's bad luck prize in Hockenheim! In neither race was he able to avoid stalled cars on the grid and had to drop out within the first hundred yards. Tom Dillmann, from Alsace, had a frustrating week-end too, with constant braking problems. He had to make a long pitstop in race 1 but climbed impressively through the field on the Sunday from 25th to 15th place. It was to Yann Clairay that fell the pleasure of bagging SG Formula's two maiden championship points. Yann, who hails from Laval, also had problems with his brakes during qualifying and at the start of race 1 but a flying start enabled him to climb from 16th to 11th place on the Saturday. After heroically overtaking three rivals in Sunday's race it looked as though he was heading for 7th place when two cars collided in front of him, leaving the way clear for him to finish 5th in the race.
"This was our very first outing and after all the hard work the whole team had put during this winter we were very pleased to come away with the two points. Yann is completely fired up. He gets on very well with everyone in the team and always gets involved as much as he can. He drove a near perfect race. He used his experience, drove aggressively and took his chances when they came. Henki had just enough time to show that he was one of the fastest rookies in the field. It was a shame he couldn't drive in the race because obviously he needs to get miles under his belt. But I am not worried. He's a very talented guy and his attitude is positive. We had a lot of problems with Tom's car, leading to his failing to shine during qualifying and race 1. But we all know he is capable of winning races."
Formula 3 will be off to Mugello in Italy for the next meeting, which will take place in three week's time (May 3-4). It is going to be a busy weekend for SG Formula, because the team will also competing that weekend in the first round of Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in Spa-Francorchamps!