F3

AUSF3: Astuti Motorsport Friday report

TRIMBLE'S TENACIOUS FRIDAY FIGHTBACK The outcome wasn't quite what Astuti Motorsport had planned, but Michael Trimble showed plenty of determination in the second Dodo Australian Formula 3 race at the Fosters Formula 1 Australian Grand ...

TRIMBLE'S TENACIOUS FRIDAY FIGHTBACK

The outcome wasn't quite what Astuti Motorsport had planned, but Michael Trimble showed plenty of determination in the second Dodo Australian Formula 3 race at the Fosters Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Trimble had been the quickest car in the field on Thursday's opening day of running, and was looking to bounce back in style after an incident-packed Race 1 prevented him from starting the weekend with a win.

His chances on Friday suffered a blow pre-race, with officials penalising the Melbournian for his part in an altercation with Chris Alajajian late in the opening race. Trimble was excluded his second place in the results, and sent to the rear of the grid for Race 2.

From 22nd on the grid, Trimble moved up the order at a rapid rate of knots, climbing to fourth place by the end of lap three. The 21-year old then set about closing the gap to the top three drivers.

Despite the car not handling ideally after time-constrained overnight repairs, Trimble continued to make ground on the top three drivers, before sliding off the track at Turn 1 in a last-lap downpour and finishing sixth.

"It was hard work," Trimble said of the race. "We had to rebuild the right-rear suspension after the incident with Alajajian in race one, and we had a massive weight imbalance across the car in the race.

"The front-left was completely unweighted, so basically the car was all upset with its weight distribution. Turning right it was no good, because the front-left wasn't loading up properly and then when I turned left, it would be oversteering.

"It also meant I couldn't brake hard; when I did it just locked the front left. I ended up with a massive flatspot on the front left tyre which just kept getting worse. It was hard to manage it, the flatspot was sending a vibration back through the steering wheel and it was all really difficult."

One highlight from the race was Trimble's storming opening lap, in which he gained 16 places aboard the Kings Springs Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304.

"The first lap was pretty cool," he said. "I got a pretty good start and everyone was sort of tip-toeing around, trying to get a feel on the conditions, but I was pretty comfortable with it at that stage, so I was pushing pretty hard and was able to make up quite a few spots."

Astuti Motorsport now turn their attention to the third race of the weekend, which will be contested tomorrow afternoon around the 5.3km Albert Park layout.

"The car wasn't quite right today but Michael drove well," said team-owner Sam Astuti. "He had a magnificent start, pushed hard and was catching them lap by lap.

"The balance of the car wasn't quite right, but we know what we have to do to fix that and get the speed back, so we'll change that by tomorrow.

"We're starting tomorrow's race from the third row of the grid, so compared to today, it will be less work with a better car than what Michael, so we'll be looking to get back on top, where we started the weekend."

Race 3 will take place tomorrow, Saturday, at 5:00pm. The final Dodo F3 race will take place at 9:50am on Sunday morning.

-am-

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Series F3
Drivers Chris Alajajian