MAILLEUX SEALS MAIDEN F3 EUROSERIES TRIUMPH AT MUGELLO Manor Motorsport's Franck Mailleux produced an excellent display during a highly entertaining 10th round of the Formula 3 Euroseries at Mugello in Italy on Sunday to claim his first ever F3...
MAILLEUX SEALS MAIDEN F3 EUROSERIES TRIUMPH AT MUGELLO
Manor Motorsport's Franck Mailleux produced an excellent display during a highly entertaining 10th round of the Formula 3 Euroseries at Mugello in Italy on Sunday to claim his first ever F3 race victory.
The 22-year-old Frenchman, who is in his maiden season of Formula 3 competition having graduated from sister-team Manor Competition's Formula Renault UK ranks after winning the 2006 Winter Championship, started the second of the weekend's races from third on the grid and after taking the lead at mid-distance he never looked back.
Dani Clos led at the start and as Franck started to mount a serious challenge around lap seven, the former was forced to defend. On lap 12, Franck made a decisive pass and added to the points for the sixth position he achieved during Saturday's ninth round, the Manor ace now leads the Rookie standings.
"I am very happy with my maiden win in the Formula 3 Euroseries", said Mailleux after the 10th round which has been noted by some as one of the best in the history of the series, "Over five laps I was battling with Dani Clos for the lead and I finally won."
The F3 Euroseries' first ever visit to Italy saw the championship return to its regular slot on the DTM package, having enjoyed a high-profile position on the Formula One support package at Magny-Cours two weeks ago during the French Grand Prix meeting.
While pre-event testing went very well for Manor, qualifying was unfortunately a different story with the very hot conditions causing tyre issues and giving the Dinnington-based team some headaches.
Round nine saw British sensation James Jakes start as the highest placed Manor runner in eighth place with Mailleux lining up in 12th, Dutch ace Yelmer Buurman in 13th and Swiss starlet Cyndie Allemann 20th on the grid.
Jakes raced well to a top four result in the first of the weekend's two encounters, missing out on a podium by just six 10ths of a second, while Mailleux climbed an excellent six positions into sixth place. Allemann produced by far her best ever run in F3 Euroseries with an outstanding top 10 finish while Buurman struggled with car set-up and was 15th.
With the result from the first race setting the grid for Sunday's 10th round, the exception being the top eight which is reversed, Mailleux would begin in third place, Jakes in fifth and then Allemann and Buurman in 10th and 15th respectively.
Sadly for Jakes, race winner at Magny-Cours of course, he was forced out on the opening lap by fellow title contender Sebastien Buemi after the latter tagged the rear wheel on the Yorkshireman's car, wrecking the rim and making the tyre deflate instantly.
Mailleux, of course, went on to take a welcome victory while team-mate Buurman was in inspired form and raced fantastically from 15th on the grid to a richly deserved top six result, proving his stunning overtaking skills. Allemann, meanwhile, wasn't quite able to replicate her round nine performance and ended the race in 15th spot.
"We're absolutely delighted to see Franck achieve his first win and added to Cyndie's best ever result in Saturday's race it's been a good weekend for Manor", said team boss John Booth, "We started the weekend very well, in testing we were really strong but then qualifying was a problem, the tyres weren't right for the conditions as it was very hot.
"In the first race, Yelmer had some problems with his car set-up which was unfortunate but in Sunday's event he was outstanding and overtook a lot of cars to show what a great racer he is -- he didn't get lucky with gaining places, he had to fight really hard."
Booth added: "Fourth was a good result for James on Saturday but it was gutting to see him taken out in the second race by Buemi, the contact shattered the rim and the tyre was ruined. Cyndie performed very well and to achieve her best ever result was fantastic for the whole team."
With the victory for Mailleux the team's second in as many race meetings, hopes are high for an equally successful outing at Zandvoort in the Netherlands which hosts rounds 11 and 12 of the 2007 F3 Euroseries just under a fortnight from now on 28th/29th July.
"I'm delighted with every one of our drivers, to have four relatively inexperienced racers doing so well at this level is great", said Booth, "Manor is traditionally quite strong at Zandvoort and Yelmer will, of course, be hoping for a great run on home soil. It's quite remarkable what our drivers are achieving and we're confident of continued success."