ASTUTI'S CHARLIE HOLLINGS EDGES CLOSER AFTER ROUGH MALLALA F3 STOUSH Astuti Motorsport had an up and down weekend at Mallala Raceway in last weekend's fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship but they achieved one goal...
ASTUTI'S CHARLIE HOLLINGS EDGES CLOSER AFTER ROUGH MALLALA F3 STOUSH
Astuti Motorsport had an up and down weekend at Mallala Raceway in last weekend's fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship but they achieved one goal -- to continually close the margin on championship leader Tim Macrow.
Drivers Charlie Hollings (#11 Shell Racing Solutions Dallara) and Michael Trimble (#10 Lista Dallara) both produced stunning performances throughout the weekend to help Hollings close the margin between first and second in the championship to a meagre five points after four rounds of racing.
Contender Hollings had a turbulent weekend after qualifying on the second row of the grid for both races.
In race one he was running a strong second for a majority of the event until a last-ditch move by Leanne Tander into the turn seven hairpin left him 'hung out to dry' and forced to concede two other places after avoiding contact with the passing car.
Charlie secured a valuable eight points for the team with his fifth place result -- squaring the championship ledger after the first of two races.
In the second 18-lap affair Hollings finished a consistent second behind Macrow to consolidate his second position in the championship and close the margin.
Victorian Michael Trimble returned to his old Astuti team at Mallala to drive the #10 Lista Dallara and made an immediate impact after eight months out of the Formula 3 hot seat -- qualifying on pole for both races.
Trimble unfortunately stalled the car on the line at the beginning of race one, inspiring a charge through the field that resulted in him running second for a majority of the race after being as low as ninth into turn two on the opening lap.
Unfortunately the rapidly drying track left him at the mercy of the cars on Slick tyres and he drifted back to finish a still-competitive sixth.
In race two Trimble knocked out fastest lap after fastest lap in his pursuit of the leader but settled for third place in the end after running second for most of the 18-lap duration -- Trimble electing to not fight his team-mate for second place to ensure that the team secured the best possible finish for the championship battle.
"The team had a great result today," Charlie Hollings said.
"With Michael coming third in the final race and me closing the gap to the championship leader it's made a disappointing weekend better.
"This is going to be a close battle all season so I'm pleased to have closed the gap to the leader." He said.
Trimble was pleased with his return to Formula 3 competition.
"I came to do a job this weekend and I'm happy that I was able to do it for the most part," the 22-year-old said.
"I didn't get the best start in race one but I had a really good run in the second and was able to set the quickest lap. I have to say thanks to the Astuti Motorsport team for the chance to get back into one of these great cars." He said.
The weekend gave Astuti Motorsport a pair of podium finishes for its brand new team partners, Shell Racing Solutions and Lista joining the team prior to the Mallala round.
A short break for the team now before heading to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney for round five of the championship, scheduled for July 13 -- 15.
The circuit holds fond memories for the Astuti team after Charlie Hollings took pole position at the circuit in the opening round of the 2007 championship at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event in February.
The round was a watershed event for Hollings after a jumped start left him on the comeback trail in his first ever race start in Australia.
Hollings then dominated the Oran Park round of the championship, taking two wins from two starts, and also finished on the podium at Phillip Island.