SG Formula unhappy at home The 9th round of the Formula 3 Euro Series took place on the Bugatti circuit. SG Formula has managed to score points in every meeting this season except the ones which took place on French soil! Not that the team from...
SG Formula unhappy at home
The 9th round of the Formula 3 Euro Series took place on the Bugatti circuit. SG Formula has managed to score points in every meeting this season except the ones which took place on French soil! Not that the team from La Rochelle was uncompetitive, it's just that it suffered abysmal luck.
Following its exploits during qualifying in Barcelona, SG Formula had high hopes for the Le Mans meeting. After all, the team knows the circuit well because it races here every year in Formula Renault 2.0. However, something was obviously amiss right from the start in Sarthe. "We couldn't get the cars properly set up during practice, mostly because of the weather," lamented team manager Stephane Guerin. "That cost us dear during qualifying. If it hadn't been for yellow flags in the closing laps we might still have salvaged one or two spots on the front five lines of the grid, because our drivers were lapping better towards the end before they were forced to ease off. One way or another, this was not the greatest of starts for us."
It was even worse for Yann Clairay! He didn't slow down enough in the go-slow segment and picked up a penalty for his pains, which put him down in 24th place on the grid. Richard Philippe, on the other hand, took advantage of people's penalties to climb to 11th, and Dutchman Henkie Waldschmidt took a creditable 15th place.
In Saturday's race it seemed as though Richard Philippe had done all the hard work by the time he reached Dunlop. He was lying 8th after a terrific start. But, as too often happened over the weekend, several cars cut across the chicane. The Frenchman was edged out by another driver, and lost a lot of ground. In the end, Richard crossed the line in the same spot he'd started the race:- 11th. Yann Clairay picked up a drive-through penalty for supposedly having jumped the start - something he hotly denied - and which relegated him to a lowly 22nd place, although he did clock a stylish 6th fastest lap in the race. This was despite getting nudged by team-mate Henkie Waldschmidt coming out of the Museum turn in Lap 1. After that incident, Henkie was unable to do any better than 20th.
Wet conditions in Sunday's racing might have proved a useful ally for SG Formula's trio of drivers. But the trio soon turned into a duo when water pump woes prevented Henkie Waldschmidt from taking his place on the grid. Yann Clairay completed Lap 1 at a brisk pace which saw him move up seven places through the field. But in his second lap he approached the Dunlop chicane too fast and spun. To make matters worse, the nose of his car got rammed as another driver also completed a pretty pirouette. Fortunately the damage was only slight and Yann was able to restart the race. It must have got his dander up, because his next lap was the fastest of the race, a full 2 seconds quicker than anyone else! Shortly after that the race was interrupted due to worsening adherence on the track. Once almost everyone had fitted their wet tyres, the pack set off for three more laps, which saw Yann carry on where he had left off, climbing through the field to finish the race 16th. Richard Philippe didn't get off to as good a start as on the previous day. His race came to an abrupt end when a shunt left him with a splayed front suspension.
What a weekend! Hardly anything seemed to go right for the F3 Euro Series' newest outfit. Let's hope things go better when the team visits Hockenheim next October 25-26, where it will complete its first season in the category, hoping to give good account of itself under better circumstances.