Both OF Astuti Motorsport's drivers fired on all four cylinders at last weekends ING Australian Grand Prix Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Support races, giving the Melbourne-based team one of their most successful ever race weekends. Englishman...
Both OF Astuti Motorsport's drivers fired on all four cylinders at last weekends ING Australian Grand Prix Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Support races, giving the Melbourne-based team one of their most successful ever race weekends.
Englishman Charlie Hollings won two of the four non-championship races held at the Albert Park circuit whilst his Austrian Team-mate Walter Grubmuller continued to show why he is being feared as a dark horse in the British F3 championship this season with a series of blisteringly quick performances.
In opening practice Grubmuller was second fastest, whilst Hollings, driving car #11, adapted to the circuit en route to posting the 9th quickest time.
The pair both moved forward in the sole 20-minute qualifying session. Grubmuller improved his time to come within just one-tenth of pole sitter Karl Reindler whilst Hollings shot up the order to just shadow his team-mate in third position.
Racing with a new logo on his car -- in the form of a British Bulldog -- Hollings gave Astuti their first race win since September last season in the first of four races, when survived an accident -- filled eight laps to win the first of four races at Albert Park.
Grubmuller finished 8th in the #10 car after dropping out of second place mid-race.
In race two Hollings lead early before being forced to settle for second when Tim Macrow got by at the end of the first racing lap, whilst Walter made up two positions to score a top six finish and continue his comeback trail.
Grubmuller's charge forward went on to continue in the third of four races, making up another two positions and finishing fourth in a strong display.
Hollings again finished second but was able to lead more laps in a sign that he wasn't wiling to go down without a fight.
The fourth and final race was a controversial affair.
After assuming the lead early, Charlie ceded the lead to Tim Macrow on the fourth lap as the pair entered turn one -- where a yellow flag was being shown due to a car being stranded in the sand trap.
After crossing the line in second position, Charlie's #11 car was eventually elevated into the race win following a post-race appeal - and subsequent stewards hearing - from the Astuti Motorsport team.
Walter Grubmuller drove a smart race into third place, to score his second podium finish since joining the Astuti Motorsport team.
"That was a fantastic all -- round performance from the team," Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti said Sunday night.
"I worked the team pretty hard all weekend but the results paid off. Charlie drove brilliantly and was justified in getting the win in race four -- I am very pleased with the steward's decision.
"Walter has been exceptional and if not for a mistake in the first race would have been right at the front with Charlie in each event. It's been a great learning experience for him and hopefully he has great success as he goes into British F3 this season.
"We certainly wish him all the best." Astuti said.
CHARLIE HOLLINGS - #11 Dallara F304 Renault Sodemo
"After coming such a close third in qualifying (only three tenths separated the top three) I was really looking forward to lining up this weekend and Astuti Motorsport have been great - I can't thank them enough for their support." Charlie Hollings said.
"To win in front of this crowd at the Melbourne Grand Prix is fantastic and I have had a great time here at Albert Park.
"(In race four) I was leading onto the straight. Tim got a run on me but there was waved yellow flags in to the corner. Tim had better braking and got around but I knew he'd get a penalty. I didn't push too hard and made sure that I brought it home.
"Last year I started the season very late and didn't have much time to be in the car. I arrived at Eastern Creek and only got two 20-minute sessions under my belt, but got pole and then got penalised for the starts.
"This weekend I wanted to make sure that I got good starts which I did, and then get some race results. Now we can go testing and challenge for the championship."
WALTER GRUBMULLER - #10 Dallara F304 Renault Sodemo
"I got a very good start and was able to have a great race with Marco -- he put a lot of pressure on me," Walter said.
"It's a competitive series and there are a lot of competitive drivers in it. It's been a good experience for me. It is pleasing to get onto the podium at the end of the weekend.
"I love it out here and it's been great to race in Australia.
"It was my first time at Albert Park. Its great exposure and I've met some people from the Austrian media who have been very supportive.
"This has been great motivation for me to race out here. It's been a real challenge.
"We started from second in Race 1 -- I was running in P2 but then I made a mistake and got on the grass and lost a lot of positions.
"The races are so short it's hard to pass cars and It's a bit frustrating that I was only able to make it on the podium once this weekend because it could have been so much better."