BRANDS PODIUM FOR JAKES BUT FRUSTRATION FOR MAILLEUX Manor Motorsport, the sole British entrant in the Formula 3 Euroseries, saw a realistic bid for victory in the third and fourth rounds of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit unfortunately...
BRANDS PODIUM FOR JAKES BUT FRUSTRATION FOR MAILLEUX
Manor Motorsport, the sole British entrant in the Formula 3 Euroseries, saw a realistic bid for victory in the third and fourth rounds of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit unfortunately thwarted over the weekend, 9th/10th June; although Yorkshireman James Jakes did record a well deserved maiden podium and first ever category pole position.
While the BRDC Rising Star's rostrum finish during Saturday's 54-lap race did bring a great deal of cheer to the Dinnington squad, luckless team-mate Franck Mailleux was left ruing what might have been after being controversially shunted out of round three mere yards from the start by eventual victor Romain Grosjean.
Manor was undoubtedly the fastest team in testing and qualifying and also had the two quickest drivers in the form of Jakes and Mailleux who locked-out the front row of the grid for round three, the Brit just shading the Sheffield-based Frenchman by 0.013 seconds to take his maiden series pole with a lap of 41.704 seconds (166.516 km/h).
As Saturday's encounter got underway, neither of the Manor drivers made the best of starts but worse was to come for Mailleux when third-placed Grosjean tried to make the most of a good getaway by attempting to thread between the two team-mates on the run from the grid.
While Mailleux moved towards the centre of the track to defend his position and tuck-in behind Jakes, Grosjean headed for the same piece of asphalt and a highly contentious locking of wheels followed which resulted in Franck spearing off into the barriers while his countryman continued and took the lead from Jakes into Paddock Hill Bend.
Video replays of the incident certainly appeared to substantiate the point Grosjean was at fault for the contact but no penalties were forthcoming and he went on to take the win. Jakes was never far behind though and crossed the line in second place on lap 54 just over a second adrift.
In round four, Jakes wasn't able to capitalise on his seventh position starting slot and although he did slip to 10th on the opening lap after avoiding troubles at Paddock Hill Bend, the Brit did recover to record an eighth place finish with a particularly impressive pass around the outside of Harald Schlegelmilch at Druids Hairpin a real highlight.
Mailleux, meanwhile, was forced to retire from round four at the end of the eighth lap due to a hand injury sustained in his impact with the barriers on Saturday afternoon. He did, however, post the fastest lap of the race prior to pitting with a time of 42.576 seconds.
Buurman rises to fourth in championship Yelmer Buurman was certainly the most consistent of Manor's quartet of drivers with a brace of points-scoring results at Brands Hatch, even though he was forced to complete the entire 55-lap fourth round with damaged suspension following a first corner coming together with, of all people, Grosjean.
Although in with a terrific chance to bag his second podium of the season from third on the grid for Sunday's race, the tangle with Grosjean meant it would be more a case of damage limitation for Buurman. Forced back into fourth place following the contact, the Dutchman did an excellent job of retaining the position to the flag.
In Saturday's encounter he finished in sixth position after a more straightforward race and crossed the line at the finish just four 10ths of a second behind Tim Sandtler, having hounded the German closely for the entire 54 laps. The Dutch star is now the best placed Manor driver in the championship, a point ahead of Jakes in fourth position.
Cyndie Allemann, the sole female racer in the ultra-competitive F3 Euroseries, faced bad luck similar to that experienced by Mailleux during Saturday afternoon's race when she was unceremoniously eliminated from proceedings at Graham Hill Bend on lap one.
Therefore forced to start round four from the back of the grid alongside her luckless team-mate, the Swiss starlet produced a terrific drive to climb through the order to 15th position at the chequered flag, just three 10ths of a second shy of Marco Holzer.
Reflecting on a homecoming which didn't quite bear the fruit it had initially promised, Manor team boss John Booth commented: "We had the quickest cars and drivers this weekend but to have unfortunately come away without a win is obviously disappointing.
"Having said that, we've taken a lot of encouragement from the fact we were very quick in qualifying again and now we just need to make sure we convert that into results at the Norising two weeks from now."
Rounds five and six of the F3 Euroseries will take place at the Norisring in Germany in a fortnight's time, 23rd/24th June. This weekend's Brands Hatch races, meanwhile, will be replayed on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV tonight at 19.00 with additional re-runs throughout the week, the first to be screened on Monday, 11th June, at 10.30.
2007 Provisional Formula 3 Euroseries Driver Standings (after Rds3&4): 4th Yelmer Buurman, 12pts; 5th James Jakes, 11pts; 8th Franck Mailleux, 7pts
2007 Provisional Formula 3 Euroseries Team Standings (after Rds3&4): 2nd Manor Motorsport, 29pts J2007 Formula 3 Euroseries Rookie Standings (after Rds3&4): 3rd Franck Mailleux, 11pts